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The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment
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The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
In the 1st major reinterpretation of the French Enlightenment in 20 years, Goodman moves beyond the traditional approach to the Enlightenment as a chapter in Western intellectual history & examines its deeper significance as cultural history. She finds the very epicenter of the Enlightenment in a community of discourse known as the Republic of Letters, where salons gov ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 10th 1996 by Cornell University Press (Ithaca/London) (first published July 1st 1994)
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John
Feb 26, 2014 John rated it liked it
This seems at first glance to be a perfect contribution to the 1990s golden age of women’s and gender history, which makes it a little odd that Goodman packages it as a cultural history rather than as a gender history. She does claim to be writing a “feminist history,” but she doesn't make a big deal about it. Perhaps she was worried that overtly categorizing it under the “women and gender” label would ghettoize it, but the problem is that people who specialize in gender and could include her bo ...more
Jennifer Uhlich
Apr 09, 2012 Jennifer Uhlich rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
The best kind of nonfiction for me pushes different buttons: it tells me stuff about things I want to know, it tells me stuff I didn't know I wanted to know, and it gives me lots of yummy further reading. This did all three. While the text was naturally a little academic-dry at times

(I've only had one cup of tea this morning so further qualifying academic-dry is not on the table, sorry)

and I could have done without all the Habermas

(yes, okay, I've totally forgotten Habermas, it has nothing to
...more
Kristi
Sep 22, 2015 Kristi rated it it was ok
Overall, I found this book too dry to spark my interest and pull me into the historical narrative. I was intrigued by Goodman's attention to the role of women in the salons, but owing to my own lack of knowledge about French culture during this period, I felt disconnected from the text and could not find my "hook" into it. This history may appeal more to those with a working knowledge of the topic; it was perhaps not the best book for me to begin with.
Saskia
Mar 10, 2014 Saskia rated it did not like it
I only read passages for research, yet from what I have read, I have encountered conflicting scholarship in direct response to this book (arguments that make more sense to me). Curiously entitled "a cultural history", Goodman essentially applies 20th-Century cultural thinking to 18th-Century history and it doesn't quite fit. Perhaps I am too cynical but it is too idealistic.
Lisa
Oct 18, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it
Shelves: history
French Enlightenment...boring. She was way too technical for my liking and you get lost in the translation. I'm sure there are better books that execute their points on the French Enlightenment than Goodman did.
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