Enlightenment and Community: Lessing, Abbt, Herder and the Quest for a German Public

Synopsis

Argues that the Enlightenment project was more than the misguided turning towards instrument rationality that some hold it to be. The author examines three north-central German Enlightenment writers and finds in them a genuine communitarian search for the construction of a German public sphere. After placing the writers in the general social, political, and literary contexts of their time, he looks at the different approaches (literary, political, and philosophical) the author applied to their goal.