Williams KJ (2021) Philosophy, Literature, and the Arts. In: Pelling M & Jones E (eds.) A Cultural History of Historiography, Volume 4: The Age of Enlightenment and Revolution (1650-1800). The Cultural Histories Series. London: Bloomsbury.
First paragraph: Traditional narratives of European intellectual history see the period 1650-1800, some or all of which is generally named "the Enlightenment", as one of dramatic intellectual change: the collapse of previous orthodoxies, the growth of skepticism, and the birth of "modernity", however defined. Readers expecting to find reflections of this tumult in the histories of philosophy, literature, and the arts written during that century and a half will be sorely disappointed. Instead, we are presented with a scene of stability and continuity which links the culture of Humanism on the one hand with that of the nineteenth century on the other. Rather than dramatic shifts and breaks in the European intellectual tradition, we see a gradual evolution, most noticeable in increasingly national frames of reference as the Republic of Letters split into the essentialised nation-states of the Romantic period.
Historiography; Histories of the Arts; Enlightenment
Output Status: Forthcoming