Three Deaths and Enlightenment Thought: Hume, Johnson, Marat

Three Deaths and Enlightenment Thought: Hume, Johnson, Marat

Three Deaths and Enlightenment Thought: Hume, Johnson, Marat

Three Deaths and Enlightenment Thought: Hume, Johnson, Marat

Synopsis

"In recent years there has been an extended debate about Enlightenment thought. Though many scholars have concluded that there were several "Enlightenments," some continue to make generalizations about the Enlightenment and some speak about "the Enlightenment agenda." After discussing the cult of the deathbed scene in eighteenth-century Britain and France, the author looks at three currents of Enlightenment thought implicit in the deathbed "projects" of David Hume, Samuel Johnson, and Jean Paul Marat. Although Hume and Johnson told profoundly different views of religion, their political thinking has much in common. Their reformist thought differs radically from what might be called the transformist thought of Marat, who hoped the French would become disinterested citizens whose civil religion was patriotism." "The book also looks at the response of James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, and Edward Gibbon to the deathbed projects of Hume and Johnson, and it discusses how their political thought differs from Johnson's and Hume's. It also considers the complex relations between reformist and transformist thought in Britain during the last three decades of the century, showing how the views of the two reformist groups and of such transformist writers as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, and Thomas Paine were affected by a number of political events, from the Wilkes crisis to the French Revolution. Though the book focuses on Anglo-Scottish Enlightenment thought, it often refers to the French Enlightenment, and the chapter on Marat looks at the connection between transformist thought in Britain and France." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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