Question #2

Where do you think it happened?

For a long time, when people wrote of the Enlightenment, they were thinking about France in general, Paris in particular, and – even more particularly – the small group of people clustered around the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert. Lots of people want to make “Enlightenment” a broader category than that, but how broad should it go, in geographical terms? Does it include Eastern Europe (apart, perhaps, from Königsberg)? Does it make much sense to talk of England as being an “Enlightened” country in the eighteenth century, and, if so, in what respects? And there’s a social geography as well as a spatial one: to what extent was “Enlightenment” an elite intellectual movement, and to what extent was it something ordinary men and women could participate in?

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