The Enlightenment

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Part One: The History (What do we know?)

This brief historical introduction to the Enlightenment explores the social, political and religious factors that formed the original context in which it emerged, and the major thinkers and writings to which it gave birth.

What was its impact on the world at the time and what were the key ideas and values connected with it?

Part Two: The Legacy (Why does it matter?)

This second part explores the intellectual and cultural 'afterlife' of the Enlightenment, and considers the ways in which its impact has lasted and been developed in different contexts by later generations.

Why is it still considered important today? In what ways is its legacy contested or resisted? And what aspects of its legacy are likely to continue to influence the world in the future?

The book has a brief chronology at the front plus a glossary of key terms and a list of further reading at the back.