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Here a distinguished American historian challenges the belief that the eighteenth century was essentially modern in its temper. In crystalline prose Carl Becker demonstrates that the period commonly described as the Age of Reason was, in fact, very far from that; that Voltaire, Hume, Diderot, and Locke were living in a medieval world, and that these philosophers “demolished the Heavenly City of St. Augustine only to rebuild it with more up-to-date materials.” In a new foreword, Johnson Kent Wright looks at the book’s continuing relevance within the context of current discussion about the Enlightenment.
“Will remain a classic—a beautifully finished literary product.”—Charles A. Beard, American Historical Review
“The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers remains one of the most distinctive American contributions to the historical literature on the Enlightenment. . . . [It] is likely to beguile and provoke readers for a long time to come.”—Johnson Kent Wright, from the foreword
Carl L. Becker (1873-1945), a professor of European history at Cornell University, was one of the world’s leading authorities on eighteenth-century thought. Johnson Kent Wright is associate professor in the department of history at Arizona State University and author of A Classical Republican in Eighteenth-Century France: The Political Thought of Mably.
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