10282 The Culture of the Enlightenment in 18th Century Europe, I: France

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Modern History

Prerequisites: none

The course is based primarily on a translation and adaptation of the British Open University course The Enlightenment, by Michael Head, Henry Wassermann, Dan Daor, Amos Hofman, Yoav Peled, Benjamin Perl.

This course, together with The Culture of the Enlightenment in 18th Century Europe, II: Britain, Germany, Jewish Culture and Music (10463), constitute a whole. Students are strongly advised to take both. The materials include a translation of The Age of Enlightenment: An Anthology of Eighteenth Century Texts (edited by S. Eliot and B. Stern), accompanied by a picture album, recordings of musical works on CD, and television films.

The course presents a broad perspective of the culture of the Enlightenment period in the 18th century and focuses on several prominent figures who played a central role in shaping Europe’s culture and on important cultural works. It provides students with the opportunity to become familiar with basic concepts of the Enlightenment and its central ideas from the points of view of history, philosophy, economics, natural sciences, literature, painting, architecture and music.

Topics: Montesquieu and Persian Letters; Diderot – Encylopédie; Buffon and Natural History; Voltaire – Candide; Rousseau and criticism of modern society (The Social Contract); Chardin and 18th century French painting; Architecture and interior design in France during the Enlightenment; Laclos – Dangerous Liaisons.