Enemies of the Enlightenment : The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity
Born in France but spread throughout the world, the Counter-Enlightenment was a major cultural force at the intersection of the development of modern politics and thought about religion, gender, the French Revolution, and the course of history. This book examines the Enlightenment from the perspective of its contemporary opponents.
- 01 Dec 2002
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
- New ed.
"excellently researched and elegantly written study . . . . Using the theoretical and methodological tools forged in the last three decades of enlightenment scholarship, McMahon enriches our understanding of antiphilosophie by broadening the focus of inquiry to include names of largely forgotten men and women from varying geographical and confessional backgrounds whose opposition to the values of the Age of Enlightenment helped to define it as an intellectual movement. What we are looking at in this important study of the dialectics of Counter-Enlightenment is, in fact, the genesis of the European political Right from its last decade of the ancien regime to the postmodernist era."-- The Historian"A well-written study...of an early culture war that will not be unfamiliar to us today -- a war of mutual simplification and caricature spiraling downward into suspicion and hate....Presents a useful genealogy of a brand of conservatism that remained influential through the mid-20th century, and, more pressingly, a rough template for a host of counter-Enlightenment ideas that are with us still today, from Cambridge to Kabul."--Wall Street Journal"[I]n this sophisticated deconstruction of conservative opposition to the Enlightenment, McMahon...reenvisions intellectual history from 1750 to 1830 as an ideological dialectic foreshadowing the culture wars of our own time and helping to define modernity."--Publishers Weekly"This well-researched and beautifully written study applies insights of recent Enlightenment historiography to the heretofore neglected area of the anti-philosophes." --Choice"Beyond its chronological breadth and the relative novelty of its subject, this book has much to recommend it. Well-written and deeply researched, it takes up important historiographical questions. McMahons's work answers Roger Chartier's question about whether the existence of the Enlightenment was merely a fragment of the revolutionaries' imagination."--Jo