Cover image for Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
Kors, Alan Charles.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
4 volumes : illustrations ; 29 cm
v. 1. Abbadie-Enlightenment studies -- v. 2. Enthusiasm-Lyceums and museums -- v. 3. Mably-Ruysch -- v. 4. Sade-Zoology.
Added Author:




Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
B802 .E53 2003 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
B802 .E53 2003 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
B802 .E53 2003 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
B802 .E53 2003 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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Defining the Enlightenment as the "long eighteenth century," the Encyclopedia focuses on the entire range of philosophic and social changes engendered by the Enlightenment. It extends the conventional geographical boundaries of the Enlightenment, covering not only France, England, Scotland,the Low Countries, Italy, English-speaking North America, the German states, and Hapsburg Austria but also Iberian, Ibero-American, Jewish, Russian, and Eastern European cultures. Nor does the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment limit itself to major centers like Paris in France and Edinburgh inScotland, but shares the rich lode of recent scholarship on "secondary" and "provincial" centers such as Berlin and Geneva; Philadelphia and Milan. The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment brings a similar spirit of inclusion to the new theoretical and methodological approaches that have flowered in the humanities during the past two decades. Including feminist and various post-modernist reassessments alongside more traditional perspectives, thefour volumes offer the broadest possible range of current knowledge. Accessibility combined with scholarly rigor make the Encyclopedia the first choice for researching any aspect of the Enlightenment.

Author Notes

Alan Charles Kors is at University of Pennsylvania.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

As Kors' preface observes, the Enlightenment is "a set of tendencies and developments of European culture from the 1670s to the early nineteenth century (including in the American outposts of that culture)." An encyclopedia that attempts to cover such a span of time and most of western Europe and America is faced with a daunting task. Fortunately, the more than 400 contributors from around the world are up to it, producing a work that will be of use to anyone interested in virtually any topic from this time period. The alphabetically arranged set of just under 700 entries (counting the many subentries, such as the separately authored articles "An Overview" and "Philosophical Legacy" under the main entry Colonialism) has articles running from about a page or so (Defoe, Daniel; Latrobe, Benjamin) to more than 14 pages (Republicanism). Topics include overviews of cities or countries (Milan, Spain) as well as of more general topics such as Moral philosophy, Opera, or Technology. Fully half of the entries are biographical, covering people from all disciplines and countries. Among them are several contemporary figures, such as historians Peter Gay and Jurgen Habermas. One of the longest entries (at more than 12 pages) is the historiographical Enlightenment studies, which describes the conflicts engendered by and the diverse constructions applied to the concept of the Enlightenment over the past 300 years. The encyclopedia itself reflects this diversity by presenting, as the preface states, "a wide range of general and particular contexts, schools of thought, and interpretations." For example, the article Sexuality concludes by noting that "the Marquis de Sade's writing marks an important turn, showing pornography as political because it focuses on subjugating women, and as erotic because that subjugation is the source of arousal and sexual performance." On the other hand, the contributors for the entry Pornography state "we believe that Sade was a bad man and a boring writer who deserved his incarceration." The encyclopedia is augmented by more than 200 illustrations (primarily reproductions of engravings or other art), six maps, a topical outline of articles at the beginning of the set, and a superb index at the end. All articles conclude with cross-references to other entries and a bibliography that typically lists primary works, important scholarly works regardless of language, and the most useful studies in English. Many bibliographies include brief annotations. This is the third work published recently that bears the same title. Facts On File's Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (1996) is a one-volume resource intended for a more general audience. The two-volume Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment edited by Michel Delon (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001) is a translation of a work originally published in 1997 in France, featuring just over 350 entries from more than 200 contributors, although there are no biographical entries. The recent publication date of the Fitzroy Dearborn set at a price ($285) just over half that of the Oxford could give many libraries pause before deciding to add the latter to their collections. Academic institutions offering programs in Enlightenment studies could not go wrong with both sets, but Oxford has an edge in that it is not as centered on France. The inclusion of biographical entries likewise gives Oxford an advantage in any larger public or academic libraries that have a need for material in this area. The following is a list of additional recent and recommended reference sources. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Although Enlightenment studies already enjoy two outstanding references-Fitzroy Dearborn's Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (FDEE) and Facts On File's Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (FFEE)-this new work offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage available. It is not only larger, with more entries (there are 700 signed articles) and more expansive treatment of select topics, but it takes greater cognizance of the Enlightenment outside of Europe, including, for example, articles on the American Constitution and Toussaint l'Ouverture. In addition, the Oxford set includes numerous contemporary illustrations (photographs, line drawings, and maps) as well as a meticulous index, a wide range of See also references, and bibliographies with each article, which are more extensive and include more materials accessible to English speakers than those in the FDEE. Written in the grand tradition of the Dictionary of the History of Ideas and the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, the Oxford encyclopedia ultimately incorporates features of the other two, offering the more factual and biographical quality of the FFEE while sharing many entries (e.g., Jansenism, coffeehouses, and citizen or citizenship) and even contributors (e.g., Roy Porter and Monique Cottret) with the FDEE. The key difference between the Oxford encyclopedia and the FDEE is that the former focuses more on historiography and intellectual history while the latter takes a more social-historical approach and offers somewhat shorter entries. The Oxford encyclopedia is recommended for all libraries, even those that already own the FDEE and the FFEE; libraries on bare-bones budgets should opt for the Oxford encyclopedia over the other two for its impressive range and currency.-Barbara Walden, Univ. of Wisconsin Lib., Madison (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-This scholarly and comprehensive work is an excellent choice for students examining the developments in European culture from the 1670s through the early 19th century. The more than 700 signed articles generally range in length from one to five pages and describe and clarify the concepts and key individuals. They discuss the influence that Enlightenment ideas had in such areas as scientific thought; religion; economic theory; and natural, moral, and political philosophy. Each of the well-written entries concludes with a bibliography; many are annotated. The fourth volume includes a 176-page index and a "Topical Outline of Articles." The black- and-white reproductions and photographs scattered through out are of average quality.-Madeleine G. Wright, New Hampton School, NH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Encyclopedias of the Enlightenment proliferate: this set follows publication of the English translation of Dictionnaire europeen des Lumieres (Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, ed. by Michel Delon, CH, Jun'02). Unlike Delon's volumes, which have a French and European orientation, Kors (Univ. of Pennsylvania) largely focuses on British and North American perspectives, finding most of his contributors at English-speaking universities. Alphabetically arranged, double-columned entries end with usefully annotated bibliographies. In the first volume, an alphabetic list of articles is followed by a topical outline of articles (repeated in the fourth volume). The preface is clearly written, and there is a roster of contributors and a detailed index. Entries begin with "Abbadie, Jacques (1654?-1727)" and conclude with "Zoology." Delightfully produced, with sturdy and attractive binding and sprinkled with black-and-white illustrations, Kors's volumes compete very well in a crowded field that includes The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, by Peter Hanns Reill and Ellen Judy Wilson (CH, Nov'96), and The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment, by John W. Yolton et al. (CH, Nov'92). Expensive. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels of readers. W. Baker Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

I Definitions and Interpretations of the Enlightenment A. Principal Articles B. Supporting Articles II. The Political Geography of the Enlightenment A. The International Seetting and its Significant Historical Events B. Nations, States, and Politics C. Cities, Towns, Centers, and Institutions of Intellectual Activity D. Demography E. Linguistic Change F. European contact and Colonialism III. The Agencies and Spaces of the Enlightenment A. The World of Print B. Media of Diffusion C. Popularizers, Appropriators, and Critics of the Enlightenment D. Education (including Ecclesiastical Education) IV. Enlightenment, Thought, and 18th Century Culture A. The Essential Debates and Concepts of the Enlightenment B. Major Schools and Movements of Thought C. Biographies