Sample Enlightenment Research Paper. Browse other research paper examples and check the list of research paper topics for more inspiration. If you need a research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Also, chech our custom research proposal writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.
1. Deﬁnition And Meaning
Enlightenment is an epochal concept of modernity. It can be compared with others which preceded it such as Renaissance and Baroque, or followed like Romanticism, the latter mostly as its antithesis. The word Enlightenment is molded exactly on its German original, die Aufklarung, whose ﬁrst conceptual deﬁnition is due to Immanuel Kant; in 1784 he had tried to explain the meaning of the word to the readers of a Berlin journal. The ﬁrst point to be borne in mind therefore is that the term was condensed with theorical precision in a German area and that Enlightenment (second half of the nineteenth century) or Illuminismo (beginning of the twentieth century) were created as translations of the German term. But the concept of Aufklarung has had several metaphoric equivalents in European culture since the eighteenth century. The best known are linked to the term light, which in its turn is connected with reason: therefore Enlightenment was conceived from the very beginning as the Age of Enlightenment, emancipating reason, the time of man’s coming-of-age. This is what Kant meant. Reason is a critical tool allowing man to get rid of prejudice, to change the world, dominating nature through science. Enlightenment is conceived as a culture of conscious change, that is of reforms, the secularization of a term which was originally in the singular and expressed a religious concept of modernity.
Academic Writing, Editing, Proofreading, And Problem Solving Services
Get 10% OFF with 24START discount code
It does not mechanically coincide with rationalism, but it is one of its essential and critical moments. In fact a rationalistic conception of the world precedes Enlightenment and really belongs to the seventeenth century, as philosophers like Descartes and Spinoza could show. With them reason is a system, whereas with Enlightenment it becomes method. Reason becoming method is an essential point of enlightened epistemology, which not only uses Locke’s empiricism, but also Newton’s celebrated motto: ‘Hypotheses non ﬁngo.’
2. Times, Spaces And Routes
As for all complex epochal categories it is not easy to imprison it in a deﬁnite period of time or in space. The fact that the concept originated in a German area does not necessarily mean that the center of Enlightenment is linked to that environment. From a historiographic point of view at least three great European cultures claimed to have given origin and identity to Enlightenment: France, England, and the German world. As far as France was concerned, the capital of Enlightenment (light) was Paris, in the name of the philosophes and of the Encyclopedie, which synthesized its essential knowledge. London could not only boast Locke’s and Newton’s contribution, or the precocity of the freethinkers, and later the great lesson of Scottish intellectuals, but also its own political system, already based on the separation of powers, and above all on the rapid evolution of public opinion, favored by a free press. The Germans in their turn not only claimed that they had ﬁrst created the conceptual condensation of the term, but also having given (through Leibniz, Wolﬀ and Kant) Enlightenment a philosophy. Actually these claims implicitly conceal all the ideological processes of the following age, which perceived cultural identities on a national basis, in antithesis with Enlightenment, thus denying a fundamental presupposition, cosmopolitanism.
If one wants to understand the Age of Enlightenment today one has to put aside any simpliﬁcation identifying center and peripheries, but accept its polycentric nature, which should be considered as a European and worldwide circulation of ideas, to which Kant attributed the choice of universal emancipation. This does not mean that one should ignore the diversities which induced some scholars to imagine the existence of various kinds of Enlightenment. A polycentric interpretation probably helps better than others to save the unity and the diversities of Enlightenment at the same time.
It is never easy to deﬁne the period of time enclosing a concept of epoch. If one compares the cultural events of France, England, and Germany with those of other areas from the Mediterranean sea to the north of Europe, one can take the 1680s, indicated by Paul Hazard as the beginning of the ‘crisis of European conscience,’ as a starting point, provided one does not ﬁx dates or individual events. They are the years of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, of the querelle between Ancients and Moderns, of the appearances in European culture of Etrangers Symboles (‘foreigners symbols’), like the Chinese Mandarin, archetype of virtuous atheists. In England it is the period of intellectual maturity with Locke and Newton, but also of freethinkers like Anthony Collins and John Toland. Thomasius and Leibniz are the protagonists of the Fruhe Aufklarung. In Holland refugees like Pierre Bayle and Jean Leclerc elaborate the tools of a great critical culture. Only slightly later the adventure of Giambattista Vico, Pietro Giannone, Alberto Radicati, di Passerano, and Ludovico Muratori has its beginning in Italy. As for the Iberian peninsula, the decalage is greater.
The 1730s and 1740s can be considered years of transition, with the important exception of Voltaire’s and Montesquieu’s France, who inaugurate the Age of Enlightenment. In England the radical culture of freethinking dies out, whereas the Augustan season asserts itself through Samuel Johnson. In Italy Radicati and Giannone succumb to the success of the erudites and of the enlightened catholics (from Scipione Maﬀei to Muratori). The latter’s Spanish equivalent is Father Fejio.
The 1750s and 1760s are the season of Enlightenment at the height of its glory. The circulation of ideas links together all the European centers. Not only Paris, London, Berlin, or the cities of the great cultural mediation like Amsterdam and Geneva, but also Madrid, Lisbon, Milan, Naples, St Petersburgh, and Stockolm become involved in a close dialog. These are the days of the Encyclopedie, of the Contrat Social, of Cesare Beccaria’s Dei Delitti e Delle Pene. Learned periodicals become journals of opinion. The ﬁrst great reforms are introduced in the ﬁelds of economy, legislation, politics, and morals. Pombal’s Portugal opens a confrontation with the Jesuits in which all the Bourbon states are going to be involved and will have an echo in the great European enlightened culture.
The network of Freemasonry develops the political language of a civil society, deeply entwining itself with all the other tools of European intellectual sociality. Reforming projects are most fruitfully nourished by Utopian ideals. Enlightened absolutism makes its tentative appearance in Austria, Russia, Prussia, Tuscany, Denmark, and Sweden. If sovereigns are drawing near to the philosopher’s projects, there is also a fruitful exchange between enlightened culture and government’s experience of a new generation of oﬃcials.
The 1770s and 1780s, when little by little the generation of the great representatives of Enlightenment (Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, D’Alembert, d’Holbach) disappears, tackle an Atlantic event like the American Revolution, which gave Europe ﬁrsthand ideological material on questions not yet approached, such as the self-determination of peoples, parliamentary representation, and federative connection within a republican model: liberty, democracy, and civil ethics as a shared and written constitutional project. Europe’s boundaries widen with Russia entering the Mediterranean, and the inevitable modiﬁcations of the eastern balance. Historians like Edward Gibbon and law reformers like Gactano Filangieri take note of it. The models of reason change. Freemasonry itself, which Lessing thought the ideal tool to diﬀuse Enlightenment, lives a deep restlessness and the clash between operative rationality and taste for the occult and for mysticism. Raynal, who had enjoyed Diderot’s collaboration, accuses the European colonial models, denouncing both their violence against other civilizations as well as slavery and the inclination towards despotism; he goes so far as to assert that the torch of freedom would be carried to Europe by a black Spartacus.
It is not easy to ﬁnd an ad quem term. The beginning of the French Revolution, a starting point of an epochal crisis, is plausible beyond a logic privileging the French course. Some frontier areas are soon involved in the revolutionary turmoil. The process seems to take longer in Germany, England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, not to mention in Eastern Europe. The French Revolution and war put a stop to the politics of enlightened absolutism. The crisis of enlightened culture and its transformation into something diﬀerent (from Jacobinism to counter-revolutionary resistance) last through most of the 1790s. As for England—which experiences the ﬁrst unsettling industrial revolution—it carries out and uncompromising war not only against the French Revolution, but against the Napoleonic Empire as well; and yet this does not modify its constitutional evolution, nor does it alter substantially the role of public opinion. This is true also with regard to the United States, which will later appear to an observer like Alexis de Tocqueville (De la democratie en Amerique, 1835) as the most mature and complete project of the Enlightenment, from which the Europe of Restauration would have to learn freedom and democracy anew.
3. Operative Tools And Fields
An analysis of the categories of space and time connected with the concept of the Enlightenment implicitly shows its operative tools (reason, experience, criticism, scientiﬁc models, reforms, utopian tensions, theories of progress, and of public and private happiness). Each of these terms has its own internal dynamics, but also tends to adapt to highly diﬀerentiated realities. Enlightenment today does not appear so much like a clear unitarian philosophy, according to its reconstruction by Ernest Cassirer (1932), as like a process of general emancipation which moves hypothesis, possibilities, and strategies which might appear diﬀerent and antithetic at ﬁrst sight. This is clear from a brief analysis of its main ﬁelds of inﬂuence: religion, ethics, politics, economy, history, social transformation, and cultural change.
As regards religion, in the long term secularization had its roots in the ﬁrst period of modernity (Humanism, Renaissance, Reformation, libertinism). Criticism of revealed religions is an important element of English freethinking in the early eighteenth century, with repercussions not only in Holland, but also in France and Italy. Materialism, pantheism (the term was coined by Toland in 1704), and the negation of the immortality of the soul involve both the protestant and the catholic world, as the religious adventures, destined to be defeated, of Jean Meslier, Giannone and Radicati di Passerano could show. The progressive reduction of magical, miraculous, and prophetic forecast practices are generalized as the refusal of superstition. Fruits of the application of critical models linked with philosophy and science, they create various intersections between faith and reason, from reasonable Christianity to enlightened catholicism, to natural theology, to deism. Tolerance, which is not only the cohabitation of diﬀerent religious confessions on the same territory, but also the possibility (enunciated by Pierre Bayle) of individual conscience to err, without any church arrogating to itself the power of constraint, is a good ground for testing important conquests. In the wake of a great juridical tradition Voltaire will take this battle into the very core of Enlightenment, elaborating for European public opinion the theoretical premises for the choices of Prussian, Austrian, and Tuscan enlightened absolutism.
D’Holbach’s coterie, which represents the most radical experience of the French Enlightenment from a religious point of view (with two phases: the ﬁrst an antichristian oﬀensive; the second the elaboration of a social model where ethics and politics were separated from religion) is only one of the components, though the most aggressive and sensational, of the French and European Enlightenment. It is all too easy to underline its elitist nature, limited to a small group speculating on the complicity of European publishers interested in creating a ﬂourishing market of clandestine books. One should not underestimate this aspect, after a scholar like Robert Darnton explained the relation between publishing and sedition, between forbidden books and crisis of political, ethical and religious social structures.
The most lasting result of the Enlightenment in this ﬁeld was the widespread consciousness not only among laymen but among priests as well, including enlightened catholics, that religious choice mainly belonged to the private sphere. In this sense the most mature enlightened project had accepted and adapted for a larger civil society the rights of conscience proposed by Bayle at the time of the ‘crisis of European conscience.’
4. Emancipation, Reform And Utopia
In its most essential and creative moments, each innovative choice of the Enlightenment was preceded by an ethical reﬂection which cannot be mechanically reduced to an individual reckoning of pleasures and sorrows. The utilitarian moral itself had imagined with Bernard de Mandeville that private vice could become public virtue; but in the middle of the eighteenth century it was perceived more as a tension to ensure the maximum happiness to the largest possible number of men. From this point of view the analysis of Montesquieu’s works, of the ‘economists,’ of Pietro Verri, Beccaria, and Gaetano Filangieri are important because of the strong relation they establish with a new ethical project. The Scottish Enlightenment also starts from morals to discover economy and sociology. In fact one of the concepts most charged with future, that of ‘civil religion’ theorized by Rousseau in his Contrat social, was based on a profound thought of natural law (above all through Jean Barbeyrac) which had tried to set the ﬁeld of man’s rights and duties free from the traditional links of Patristics and Scholasticism.
Rousseau and Mably had transformed this inheritance and founded a new system of rights and duties of the citizen. The state was taking upon itself new tasks in the ﬁelds of instruction, cultural control and assistance, thus widening its public dimension and secular action; as a consequence religious choice would tend to become a private question, involving the intimate and inviolable sphere. The most signiﬁcant lesson of the Enlightenment was not so much a lay morality opposed to the religious one, as the possible dialog on the ﬁeld of citizenship between diﬀerent kinds of ethic: a diﬃcult project, continuously interrupted, which modernity has to tackle all the time.
Also from the point of view of political models the Enlightenment does not show a uniﬁed front, but a series of possible choices, from enlightened absolutism to the return of a republican culture, to the bureaucratic centralization of the ‘well-ordered police state,’ to constitutionalism, to debates on representation, to projects of direct democracy. Each of these terms in fact can be used to deﬁne very diﬀerent experiences, unless there is the intervention of a contextual historical event. There is a sharp distinction, for example, between the forced modernization of Peter the Great, which is an example of reformism to the point that it attracted Voltaire’s attention, and the strategies of ‘enlightened’ princes like Frederick II, Joseph II, Peter Leopold, and even Catherine the Great.
In the same way, with regard to republican thought, one should not confuse the patrician models of the republics which survived the success of absolute power (Holland, Venice, and Genoa), or the mannered republicanism one learnt by reading the classics, with the new republican tensions which arose as a consequence of the claims for freedom of the Poles, the Corsicans, the Genevans and above all the American colonies. But enlightened absolutism itself attracts or repels enlightened thinkers because of two equal possibilities. The ﬁrst is the use of centralization in order to carry our reforming politics, where the accent was not so much on strength, however necessary to win resistance, as on the involvement in the project of new ﬁelds: law, politics, economy, religion, culture, together with the elimination of particularisms and unjust social relations. This implied the other necessity, that of transforming the model into constitutional forms. The process of emancipation, but also of adaptation to the complexities of the real world one wants to change, Enlightenment moves between the two poles analyzed by Franco Venturi (1971): utopia and reform, closely entwined. These two tensions vivify each other. But the course of the Enlightenment revolves round another two essential terms: freedom and democracy. The ﬁrst term above all was the main object of Montesquieu’s L’esprit des lois (1748). It is not possible here to go beyond a schematization recognizing virtue as the essential value of republics, as distinguished from honor, the real ethical and social cement of monarchies. Montesquieu does not choose among the diﬀerent political forms. He only discards Asian despotism and is very diﬃdent against absolutism, which he wants to temper not only by separating the three powers, or through the binding strength of the laws, but also through the concrete presence of intermediate bodies, including the nobility.
The other term of reference for the political theory of Enlightenment is Rousseau. He opposes to eighteenth-century cosmopolitism the love for one’s own country, which requires the practice of direct democracy. Rousseau’s democracy is right for a small republican country. It does not admit representatives. Between majority and minority only the former represents the general will, because sovereignty derived from the social pact cannot be divided. The Genevan’s challenge was even more complex: he questioned a developmental model of civilization based on the progress of art and science, but also on the basis of social inequality. Democracy was the courage to modify ownership, justice, and instruction. A large part of later political thought is linked to a comparison between Montesquieu and Rousseau, to establish a connection between freedom and democracy, the aspiration to absorb the Genevan’s Utopian drive and transform it into a spirit of reform. An exemplary text is Dei delitti e delle pene, which questions the right to punish in an unjust society because it is unequal.
Various other experiences belong to Enlightened politics: cameralism, an administrative model mainly used by Prussian and Austrian oﬃcials; the physiocratic theory of legal despotism, in which a monarchic power guarantees certain natural laws, among which is ownership. From the above considerations it appears that the question of enlightened politics is narrowly linked with the question of law, which becomes ‘science of legislation.’ The weaker ﬁeld was feminine political and cultural identity. For this question one would have to wait for Mary Wollstonecraft’s adventure and her work on women’s rights.
Economy becomes a science during the eighteenth century, evolving from late-mercantilist models. The physiocratic project established the essential points of the productive cycle based on agriculture and on free corn trade. If agriculture was the only wealth producing sector, while transformation and circulation were the task of industry and commerce, taxing had to become progressive with respect to land, whose ownership was one of the fundamental natural rights. Adam Smith extended liberalism to sectors such as industry and commerce, which were not considered subsidiary, but highly productive. In this way the ﬁrst strong perception of an industrial revolution under way in England became a theory. During the last decades of the century there was a return to protectionism.
What happens with economy could well be veriﬁed with other sciences, not only social and natural, but human as well. The Scottish school creates the premise for sociology, by studying social stratiﬁcation or the concept of civil society. Economy itself, by deﬁning a stages theory based on production forms, laid down the basis of anthropology. Consolidated disciplines like physics were renovated, as well as chemistry, geology, agronomy, and geography itself. Linneus and Buﬀon had reclassiﬁed nature, thus rendering it an open book. Natural history had given a common language to natural and biological sciences.
As for history, one can only register a change in some fundamental paradigms: the loss of the superiority of sacred history, the transformation of ecclesiastical history into history of religions, the emergence of the history of civilization within new models of universal history, the ﬂourishing of civil history as institutional history, the ﬁrst appearance of the history of science.
5. Circulation And Practices: The Growth In Literacy
If one examines this process from the point of view of cultural history and of general transformation of intellectual models, European and now world-wide circulation of ideas can be measured through parameters which are apparently external to intellectual history, but not unimportant. I am referring ﬁrst of all to the international book market, but also to the creation of an incredibly large number of tools, thanks to which the consultation of books made possible, from public and private libraries to bibliographies, catalogs, abstracts, reviews. Book and newspapers have an almost universal circulation. In Europe and in America there has been an increase in literacy. The world of potential readers has expanded not only thanks to the advent of the middle classes but because the distance between male and female instruction tends to diminish in urban spaces. Somebody called this the revolution of middle class readers. Even reading habits change; there is a greater tendency to undirected reading, not linked to learned professions but to the consumption of leisure time. The demands of the new readers also bring about a change in genres. The novel has an incredible development, oﬀering as it does to all classes means for education, identiﬁcation and escapism. Among the forbidden books of the second half of the eighteenth century, the philosophique and pornographique genres often follow the same semiclandestine circuits, thus contributing to the modiﬁcation of the cultural and ethical general models of society. Music and theatre as well are often ﬁelds for ideological formation and dispute. Journalism follows in the tracks of this expansion of the book market, and from the objectivity of abstracts, which are made for a public of learned people, moves to the subjectivity of journals, the concision of reports. Journals of opinion are essential for the formation of this new international public sphere which discovers languages, interlocuters, and spaces. To this sphere belong the salons, public, and private spaces at the same time. Intellectual sociality takes a number of forms, from the old and new academies, to clubs, to cafes, down to the taverns where conversation and gossip are a way for dilating news. The Enlightenment–Academies relation is supported by a rich Bibliography:, starting with Reinhard Koselleck’s (1959) work which laid down the basis for a more through analysis of the links between Freemasonry and Enlightenment. The former is now considered the privileged center for the formation of the political language on which the assemblary model of the French Revolution will be created.
Many centers of intellectual communication reverse the prevailing male image one received when analyzing the concept from the point of view of intellectual history. Women are present in the famous French salons, where they have a personal control over an ephemeral though socially important genre like conversation. They start being accepted in some lodges and academies, their role thus changing from that of consumers of books and newspapers (also of a literature for women, produced by men) to that of writers. Firstly, they occupy the space of women’s literature, then they take and active part in the journalistic debate. The inclusion of women in the public sphere does not alter the fact that their role is still subordinate. Women’s writing often tends to self-identiﬁcation, but it remains unﬁnished, secret. And this corresponds to a social model which is prevalent in male Enlightenment. Rousseau, who had put the question of public education of the citizens, had kept women separate; Filangieri himself had followed suit. This explains the novelty of Wollstonecraft’s denunciation. In fact the public sphere created by High Enlightenment seems to be threatened by new classes joining the world of writing and communication, forming an international Grub street and living on collaborations and translations. The creation of a more aggressive political language, and of the use of reason both as prophecy and announcement of the crisis, breaks the balance of the previous generations which had reached the highest levels of intellectual communication in the academies, in the teaching and in the publishing world. In this phase women seem to live less apart. The fact remains that on this question Enlightenment as emancipation was a partial project delegated to the future, because it had not fully accepted the other half of its universe.
6. Building An Epocal Concept
Finally it should be said that the French Revolution, whilst celebrating the Enlightenment as its parent, strongly contributed to its interruption ﬁrst of all because what had survived as ideologie had to adapt to the heavy Napoleonic tutelage and stabilization, and secondly because the behavior and the propaganda of Napoleonic France were experienced by the European cultures as a violence which forced them to ﬁnd anew their national, religious, and identifying roots. This explains why part of Romanticism set itself up as an antithetic culture to the Enlightenment which was considered responsible for the political conditions in Europe. Friedrich Meinecke had spotted the opposition between cosmopolitism and the national state (1908). While new problems required new kinds of culture, certain fundamental values, after being driven underground during the Restauration, after the Napoleonic age, sprang up again in all the moments of opening to freedom and democracy which are scattered in the history of Europe. In French history the ideological elaboration of the Third Republic renewed the strong link between Revolution and Enlightenment again, the latter being dragged by the former.
The twentieth century, however, really needed to reﬂect on Enlightenment again, having a critical period troubled by nationalistic, fascist, and totalitarian cultures which threatened liberty, democracy, and equality. These threats were answered by Cassirer’s (1932), Becker’s (1932), Hazard’s (1935, 1946) and many other’s meek projects. From these roots there originated an important historiography (Venturi (1971), Gay (1967), Koselleck (1959), Pocock, Darnton, Jacob (1946, 1980), Roche and many others) which to this day has an echo in the International Society for Eighteenth Century Studies and in the dense network of National Societies. Margaret Candee Jacob has written about a ‘Radical Enlightment,’ which was masonic, pantheist, and republican. John Pocock (1999), more recently, has located in the English world a ‘Conservative Enlightenment,’ while Jonathan Israel (2001) widens the chronological terms of a European ‘Radical Enlightenment’ and ‘its making of modernity,’ starting from 1650.
There are also many publications on the limitations, deﬁciencies and responsibilities of Enlightenment in the evils of modernity, to begin with T. W. Adorno and M. Horkheimer (1947). But in the light of the dramatic problems of our times many evoke the necessity of a further Enlightenment, of a future of Enlightenment which will resume the interrupted project. One can well imagine that it will inevitably be a new one, because the past can give inspiration, but not necessarily return. It is true, however, that we must ﬁnd our own answers to emancipation, freedom and Utopia for a world otherwise risks being an icy globality without universalism.
- Adorno T W, Hoorkheimer M 1947 Die Dialektik der Aufklarung. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany [Engl. transl. 1972 Dialectic of Enlightenment. Allen, New York]
- Becker C L 1932 The Heavenly City of Eighteenth Century Philosophers. Yale, New Haven, CT, USA
- Benitez M 1996 La face cachee des Lumieres. Recherches sur les manuscrits philosophiques clandestins de l’age classique. Universitas, Paris; Voltaire Foundation, Oxford
- Cassirer E 1932 Die Philosophie der Aufklarung. Mohr, Tubingen, Germany
- Crocker L G 1959 An Age of Crisis. Man and World in Eighteenth Century French Thought. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MA, USA
- Delon M (ed.) 1997 Dictionnaire europeen des Lumieres. PUF, Paris
- Diaz F 1986 Dal Mo imento dei Lumi al Movimento dei Popoli. Il Mulino, Bologna
- Ferrone V, Roche D (eds.) 1997 L’Illuminismo, Dizionario Storico. Laterza, Roma
- Gay P 1967–1969 The Enlightenment. An Interpretation. Knopf, New York
- Giarrizzo G 1995 Massoneriave Illuminismo nell’Europa del Settecento. Marsilio, Venezia
- Guerci L 1986 L’Europa del Settecento. Permanenze Mutamenti. Utet, Turin
- Hazard P 1935 La crise de la conscience europeenne. Boivin, Paris
- Hazard P 1946 La pensee europeenne de Montesquieu a Lessing. Boivin, Paris
- Israel J I 2001 Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650–1750. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK
- Jacob M C 1980 The Radical Enlightenment. Unwin, London
- Jacob M C 1994 Living Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth Century Europe. Oxford University Press, New York
- Koselleck R 1959 Kritik und Krise Zur Pathogenese der burgerlische Welt. Alber, Freiburg-Munchen
- Mortier R 1969 Clartes et ombres au siecle des Lumieres. Droz, Geneva
- Outram D 1995 The Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
- Pocock J G G A 1999 The Enlightenments of Edward Gibbon. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2 vols.
- Porter R, Teich M (eds.) 1979 The Enlightenment in National Context. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
- Ricuperati G 1994 Le categorie di periodizzazione evil Setteceneto. Per un introduzione storigrapca. Studi Settecenteschi 14: 9–106
- Ricuperati G. (ed.) 2000 La rein enzione dei Lumi. Percorsi storiograﬁci del Novecento. Firenze, Olschki
- Scheneiders W (ed.) 1965 Lexikon der Aufklarung. Deutschland und Europa. Beck, Munchen
- Schmidt J (ed.) 1996 What is Enlightenment? Eighteenth Century Answers and Twentieth Century Questions. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA
- Tortarolo E 1999 L’illuminismo, Ragioni e Dubbi della Modernito. Carocci, Rome
- Venturi F 1971 Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
- Venturi F 1969–1990 Settecento riformatore, 5 vol (in 7 tomes). [1989 English transl. of the III, The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1768–1776: The First Crisis. Princeton University Press, Princeton; 1991 English transl. of vol IV (in two tomes) The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1776–1789. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2 vols.]