In this fresh exploration of eighteenth-century French writing, John Leigh celebrates the ideas and hopes that animated its central figures and examines the extent to which authors-and their readers-shouldered heretofore-unknown responsibilities and confronted new doubts. The book identifies the key works of political protest, philosophical exploration, and religious enquiry, and at the same time encompasses such diverse forms as the novel, short story, poetry, and drama. Conveying a vivid sense of the energy and genius of the Enlightenment as embodied in its famous and controversial writers-Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, and Rousseau-the author also considers the achievements of influential but unsung authors such as Mabillon, Olympe de Gouges, Chenier, and de Sade.
John Leigh is a university assistant lecturer and director of studies in modern languages at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.
Chapter 1 The Legacy of the Seventeenth-Century Chapter 2 In Search of Happiness Chapter 3 Philosophical Writings Chapter 4 Doubts about Philosophy Chapter 5 Thought on Religion Chapter 6 Travel Accounts: Self and Other Chapter 7 Women Chapter 8 Theater Chapter 9 Writing in the Revolution Chapter 10 Conclutions