Light In Germany: Scenes From An Unknown Enlightenment

Paperback | July 28, 2016

byT. J. Reed

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Germany’s political and cultural past from ancient times through World War II has dimmed the legacy of its Enlightenment, which these days is far outshone by those of France and Scotland. In this book, T. J. Reed clears the dust away from eighteenth-century Germany, bringing the likes of Kant, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Gotthold Lessing into a coherent and focused beam that shines within European intellectual history and reasserts the important role of Germany’s Enlightenment.
           
Reed looks closely at the arguments, achievements, conflicts, and controversies of these major thinkers and how their development of a lucid and active liberal thinking matured in the late eighteenth century into an imaginative branching that ran through philosophy, theology, literature, historiography, science, and politics. He traces the various pathways of their thought and how one engendered another, from the principle of thinking for oneself to the development of a critical epistemology; from literature’s assessment of the past to the formulation of a poetic ideal of human development. Ultimately, Reed shows how the ideas of the German Enlightenment have proven their value in modern secular democracies and are still of great relevance—despite their frequent dismissal—to us in the twenty-first century. 

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Germany’s political and cultural past from ancient times through World War II has dimmed the legacy of its Enlightenment, which these days is far outshone by those of France and Scotland. In this book, T. J. Reed clears the dust away from eighteenth-century Germany, bringing the likes of Kant, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Gotthold L...

T. J. Reed is an emeritus fellow at Queen’s College, Oxford, a Fellow of the British Academy, and President of the English Goethe Society. He is the author of many books. 

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:July 28, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022642183X

ISBN - 13:9780226421834

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface           
References, Translations, and Usage
Introduction: Out of Darkness
Chapter 1. Coming of Age: The Primal Scene
Chapter 2. A World of Our Own: An Epistemology for Action
Chapter 3. Hope in History: Making the Past Serve the Future
Chapter 4. Talking to Tyrants: Pens against Power
Chapter 5. Cosmopolitan Quandaries: Among Savages, Far and Near
Chapter 6. The Empty Heavens: From Dogma to Ethics      
Chapter 7. Apples and After: The Gravity of Science          
Chapter 8. Good Guardianship: Light through Education    
Chapter 9. Communication and Beyond: Means or End?     
Chapter 10. The Full Earth: A Lyrical Enlightenment           
Chapter 11. Peace in Whose Time? The Ultimate Prize        
A Conclusion? Toward Enlightenment         
Notes  
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Reed has done it again. With Light in Germany he has rendered invaluable service to all of those who cannot stop pondering the enigma of modern Germany. His wonderfully concrete and informed ‘scenes from an unknown Enlightenment’ compel us to reconsider the widespread disparagement of its philosophical, literary, and practical achievements by so many skeptics in the Anglophone world and in Germany itself. No small accomplishment!”