Comprising more than seven hundred articles totalling more than one million words, the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment is a unique and comprehensive reference work on the entire range of philosophic and social changes wrought by the Enlightenment. It is available in both print and as an e-reference text from Oxford's Digital Reference Shelf. The Enlightenment is here defined as the 'long eighteenth century', from the rise of Descarte's disciples in 1670 to the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France in 1815, including themes central to the ongoing history of Europe and the United States. These include increasing secularisation and a critical attitude toward inherited authority, the extension of scientific method beyond the physical sciences to law and economics, a broadened commitment to the ethical criterion of utility, an expansion of the dimensions of human life deemed subject to reform and human control, a disdain for sectarian religious strife and for its diversely perceived causes, and an elevation of the theme of 'toleration' among the concerns of the Western conscience.
The four volumes draw together the resources of a select group of editors, advisers, and contributors and provides fresh perspectives on recent scholarship in such areas as gender history and the history of popular culture. Clearly written and well balanced this reference work offers students, scholars, and other readers an up-to-date reference tool that, for the first time, places the entire range of Enlightenment studies into an authoritative encyclopedic format. This work brings together the people and places that played a role in the Enlightenment, explains the movement's concepts and themes, and describes its impact on areas as diverse as politics, religion, science, philosophy, society, and art. This definitive work presents and assesses the subject in many thematic and geographical areas, including: BLTransnational communication, including such topics as the diffusion of texts, the Republic of Letters, languages and translation, censorship and press freedom, and the Grand Tour. BLThe Enlightenment in Iberian, Ibero-American, Scandinavian, Jewish, Russian, and Eastern European culture.
BLMaterial culture, especially the 'history of the book', and the resonance of the Enlightenment in more popular culture. BLThe impact of world exploration and contact on eighteenth-century life and letters. BL'Secondary' and 'provincial' centres of intellectual and cultural activity, such as Milan, Saint Petersburg, and Philadelphia. BLThe history of Enlightenment studies, including recent theoretical and methodological approaches, and the scope of current interpretations and debates. These dramatic developments inform the more than one hundred articles that comprise the encyclopedia and are reflected in the work's synoptic outline, which covers such conceptual categories as biographies, cities, concepts, education, major schools of thought, and nations and states. Intended for the non-specialist as well as the specialist, with both wide-ranging and up-to-date coverage, the encyclopedia will prove a powerful reference tool for undergraduates, graduate students, advanced scholars, and general readers alike. An extensive system of cross-references, a synoptic outline of contents, and a comprehensive topical index provide easy access to networks of related articles.
Each entry is signed by the contributor and the work is illustrated with photographs, line drawings, and maps. Authoritative, comprehensive, and accessible, the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment is an invaluable and indispensable addition to personal, public, academic, and research libraries.
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