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The Enlightenment

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  68 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
Armed with the insights of the scientific revolution, the men of the Enlightenment set out to free mankind from its age-old cocoon of pessimism and superstition and establish a more reasonable world of experiment and progress. Yet by the 1760s, this optimism about man and society had almost evaporated. In the works of Rousseau, Kant and Goethe, there was discernible a new ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 28th 1990 by Penguin (first published 1968)
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Jan-Maat
The best thing, I felt, about this book is the sense of a long conversation unfurling across time between many people.

Hampson's argument is that the Enlightenment was marked first by a shift from seeing existence as governed by a wrathful God to a more cheerful, relaxed sense of Providence shaping our lives for the best. This in turn gave way to pessimism and determinism. After the French Revolution there were in Hapson's view,two distinct reactions to Enlightenment thought - one to deny it and
...more
Amy
Oct 12, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Did not really enjoy this one. Flicked though about half of it. Also read for history degree.
Gareth Evans
May 07, 2011 Gareth Evans rated it it was amazing
Enlightening!

I came to this book with no knowledge of philosophy or much background in 18th century European history. My interest being piqued by a radio programme on Hume. Hampon's synthesis is stunning, clear, well written and thought provoking. As a novice, I found it helpful to have my iPad by my side to distinguish between deists and material determinists. It is not a book written for the novice. Nevertheless, I found it to be an excellent introduction to a fascinating subject. Hampson's in
...more
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Norman Hampson was the Professor of History at the University of York from 1974 to 1989 and fellow of the British Academy in 1980. He specialised in the French Revolution and European Enlightenment. During the Second World War Hampson's service in the Royal Navy included two years as liaison officer with the Free French Navy.
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