Tag Enlightenment

What Happened to Enlightenment?

Caroline Winterer— What happened to enlightened ideas after the long eighteenth century? As more scholars are placing ideals of enlightenment in their global contexts, we are learning that the conventional understandings of the fate of enlightenment no longer hold. Enlightenment did not end with the movement called Romanticism, its ideals

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Catholic Anxiety and Jewish Protest in the Age of Revolutions

Kenneth Stow— In 1749, a young Jewish girl of Rome, the eighteen-year-old Anna del Monte, was kidnapped and taken to the Catecumeni, the Roman House of Converts. She had been accused of expressing a desire to convert to Catholicism by one Sabato Cohen, who had himself converted in the hopes of

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Debunking the Myth of the American Enlightenment

Caroline Winterer— In the dark years of World War II and the Cold War, Americans invented a national mythology that we hold dear to this day: the myth of the “American Enlightenment.” Like a bomb shelter made of ideas rather than concrete, the American Enlightenment (capital A, capital E) spun

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Whatever Happened to the Enlightenment?

Steven B. Smith— No period of modern history has come under more intense scrutiny than has the Enlightenment. What is—or was—the Enlightenment?  We have not ceased asking this question and the answer or answers are far from settled.  The question was most famously stated by Immanuel Kant at the start

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Adam Smith Brought into the Spotlight

In the prologue to Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, historian Nicholas Phillipson acknowledges the difficulty of writing about a man who left little to write about. A fastidious author and scholar who disdained any prospect of misinterpretation, Smith had his letters, notes, and unfinished manuscripts destroyed before his death in

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