Italy in the Age of Reason, 1685-1789

Italy in the Age of Reason, 1685-1789

Italy in the Age of Reason, 1685-1789

Italy in the Age of Reason, 1685-1789

Excerpt

This book is an attempt at a general survey which sets out to document the significant revival in eighteenth-century studies that we have seen in recent decades. Going beyond the limited view of the eighteenth century as the prelude to the Risorgimento, or those views coloured by nationalism which so frequently characterised the approach of historians from Unification to the Fascist era, Italian eighteenth-century studies can now take their place in the European historiography of the Enlightenment. Undoubtedly the starting- point for this fruitful renewal lies in the important studies by Franco Venturi, which began in the 1930s and culminate in the monumental Settecento riformatore, still in course of publication. Thanks to this work, in which Venturi, combines deep scholarship with wide intellectual interests, it is possible today to recognise the significance for Italy of the Enlightenment and the crisis of the ancien régime, and to understand the complex and sometimes contradictory picture of passionate intellectual debate, pressure for philosophical and political change, an energetic desire for reform, the problems in the institutional inheritance, the resistance of the privileged classes and powers, and the oppressive tradition of the past. To Venturi, his culture and his humanity this book owes much. It is a pleasure to acknowledge here our grateful recognition of this debt.

We would also like to thank colleagues of the Department of History of the University of Turin, particularly our friends Massimo Firpo, Luciano Guerci and Enzo Ferrone who have encouraged us with their loyalty and friendship. Our thanks also go to Caroline Higgitt for her translation and to Dr Claudio Rosso and Professor Geoffrey Symcox for their valuable comments on the latter. Finally, we would like to recall the name of Angelo Pressenda, a friend who in the recent months has supported us personally and in our work.

Dino Carpanetto Giuseppe Ricuperati Turin, July 1984.

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