History 125D. The Enlightenment: A Social, Cultural,
and Intellectual Survey (1689-1815)

CZ / CCI - IAA - W

Fall 2002


Instructor: William M. Reddy

            Office: 314 Carr Bldg.

            Phone: 684-2497

            Email: wmr@duke.edu

            Web page: www.duke.edu/~wmr

Teaching assistant: Anastasia Lazakis


Course web site: https://courses.duke.edu


Description (from Course Synopsis): The Enlightenment is widely referred to as an "age of reason," in which Western individualism and the "rights of man" were worked out. Recent research, however, reveals a very different picture, of a period in which emotions were at least as important as reason, in which colonial subjects were often admired rather than denigrated, in which women were often considered to have superior virture, in which politics became--not a field of rational deliberation, or egalitarian rebellion--but a kind of melodrama whose heroes and heroines conquered by sincerity rather than by logic or by force. What was the real Enlightenment like, and why  did our memory of it become so slanted? These questions will be addressed using a balance of readings in primary documents and recent historical writings.


Format, assignments, grading: This is a writing course. There will be frequent writing assignments, and opportunities to rewrite. Reading assignments have been reduced to a minimum, to provide additional time for composition. (Readings average 70 pages per week.)

This has been accomplished by splitting the reading assignments into two groups. There will be two groups of students, Group A and Group B; each will read one group of readings. Each will write brief reports on the reading assignments for the other group. A student will be responsible to compose such a report once every two weeks. They should be of approximately 2 pages in length (single spaced), and should be posted to the course web site 24 hours in advance of the relevant class. These reports will serve as springboards to class discussions.

These written reports will represent 30% of the course grade.

Participation in class discussions will represent 20% of the course grade.

In addition, a term paper of approximately 10 pages in length will represent 30% of the class grade. A rough draft will be due on Monday, November 11. The final version will be due on Wednesday, December 4.

There will be a short take-home final examination that will represent 20% of the course grade. It will consist of two essay questions, each equal in length to the two-page reports composed during the term; the essay questions will concern larger themes of the course.



Books available for purchase (ordered through Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth Street) and also on reserve in Lilly:


Anderson, M.S.S., Europe in the Eighteenth Century: 1713-1789, 4th ed. Longman, 2000 – $26

Gay, Peter, The Enlightenment, an Interpretation, Vol. 2, The Science of Freedom. Norton, 1969 –  $17.95

Shapin, Steven, The Scientific Revolution. Chicago UP –  $12


Original documents:

Voltaire, The Portable Voltaire. Viking Penguin -- $9

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, The Social Contract and the Discourses. Everyman -- $17

Richardson, Samuel, Pamela. Viking Penguin -- $9


Specialized studies

Fried, Michael, Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), $16.20

DeJean, Joan, Ancients Against Moderns: Culture Wars and the Making of a Fin de Siècle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), $17

Goodman, Dena, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1994), $18.95

Maza, Sarah C., Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Prerevolutionary France (Berkeley, Calif., 1993), $22.50  (This title also available on netLibrary.)

Total: $175


Original documents available online, through netLibrary:

Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan (1651)

Locke, John, Concerning Civil Government: Second Essay (1689)

Locke, John, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)

Hume, David, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)

Hume, David, Essays Moral and Political (1762), listed separately in netLibrary as:
Of Essay Writing
Of the Standard of Taste
Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion
Of Superstition and Enthusiasm


Original document available online, through Gutenberg Project:

Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)


Reading available online, through JSTOR database:

Jacob, Margaret C., and Janet M. Burke, “French Freemasonry, Women, and Feminist Scholarship,” Journal of Modern History 68(1996):513-549

(at URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-2801%28199609%2968%3A3%3C513%3AFFWAFS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-X )


Readings available on reserve in Lilly (or e-reserve):

Tuck, Richard, “The ‘Modern’ Theory of Natural Law,” in The Languages of Political Theory in Early-Modern Europe, edited by Anthony Pagden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 99-122

Darnton, Robert, “The High Enlightenment and the Low-Life of Literature,” and “A Pamphleteer on the Run,” both in The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), 1-41, 71-122

Brewer, John, The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the Eighteenth Century (London: Harper Collins, 1997), 56-164

Richard Steele and Joseph Addison, Selections from the Tatler and the Spectator, edited by Angus Ross (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982)

Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, edited by Lawrence E. Klein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 163-192

Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 1-69, 86-110

Aravamudan, Srinivas, Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999), pp. 1-25, 289-325






Group A Readings

Group B Readings



1. Preconditions



Mon., Aug. 26

Lecture: Economy and society



Wed., Aug. 28

Lecture: Government and empire



Fri., Aug 30


Anderson, 21-93

Anderson, 103-122, 128-131, 231-252, 269-279, 287-293, 294-307



2. Foundations



Mon., Sept. 2

Lecture: The scientific revolution



Wed., Sept. 4

Lecture: Religion, skepticism, rights



Fri., Sept. 6


Shapin, chs. 1-2, pp. 15-118

Tuck; Hobbes, Pt. 1, chs 1-3, 13-14, Pt. II, chs 17-18 (pp. 9-20, 82-95, 111-122)



3. The (old) Enlightenment



Mon., Sept. 9

Lecture: Nature and human nature



Wed., Sept. 11

Lecture: Society and politics



Fri., Sept. 13


Gay, pp. 167-228, 249-273

Gay, pp. 319-368, 396-423



4. The (old) great thinkers, I



Mon., Sept. 16

Lecture: Emergent individualism



Wed., Sept. 18

Discussion of Locke

Locke, Concerning Civil Gov’t: Second Essay, chs. 2-5, 7; Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Bk. I, ch. 1; Bk. II, ch. 1 (pp. 20-33, 64-74)


Fri., Sept. 20

Discussion of Montesquieu


Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, Part I, Book 3, chs. 1-11 (pp. 21-30); Part I, Book 7, ch. 9 (pp. 104-105); Part II, Book 11, chs. 1-7 (pp. 154-167); Part II, Book 12, chs. 1-13 (pp. 187-200); Part III, Book 14, chs. 10-14 (pp. 239-245); Part III, Book 15, chs. 1-8 (pp. 246-253)




Group A Readings

Group B Readings



5. The (old) great thinkers, II



Mon., Sept. 23

Lecture: The diversity of the  late Enlightenment



Wed., Sept. 25

Discussion of Adam Smith

Smith, Wealth of Nations, Bk I, chs. 1, 7; Bk. IV, ch. 2 (pp. 5-11, 45-52, 341-343


Fri., Sept. 27

Discussion of Hume


Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
(in the edition available from NetLibrary)--
Section III. Of the Association of Ideas (pp. 14-15); Section IV. Skeptical Doubts Concerning the Operations of the Understanding (pp. 15-25); Section V. Skeptical Solution of These Doubts (pp. 25-35); Section VI. Of Probability (pp. 36-37); Section VIII. Of Liberty and Necessity (pp. 52-62)



6. The (old) great thinkers, III



Mon., Sept. 30

Discussion of Voltaire

Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, Articles on: Ancients and Moderns, Authority, Intolerance, Liberty, Liberty of the Press, Mohammedans, Natural Law, Nature, Religion, Superstition, Tolerance (pp. 61-65, 77-78, 134-136, 148-151, 151-155, 163-164, 166-169, 169-172, 187-195, 205-207, 212-215); Letters on the English, pp. 512-24, 530-41


Wed., Oct. 2

Discussion of Rousseau


Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, pp. 1-31; Social Contract, Bk. I; Bk. III, chs. 15-16; Bk. IV, chs. 1, 2, 3, 8 (pp. 181-99, 262-267, 271-278, 295-305

Fri., Oct. 4

Summary discussion of the old idea of the Enlightenment





7. The real Enlightenment



Mon., Oct. 7

Lecture: The publishing industry



Wed., Oct. 9

Lecture: City life



Fri., Oct. 11


Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination, 56-164

Darnton, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime, 1-40, 71-121




Group A Readings

Group B Readings



8. Forgotten thinkers



Mon., Oct. 14




Wed., Oct. 16

Discussion of Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury, “An Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit,” Bk. I, Pt. I (pp. 163-192)


Fri., Oct. 18

Discussion of Addison


Steele and Addison, Selections from The Spectator, (1711-1712), Nos. 1, 2, 4, 10 (pp. 196-213); Nos. 106, 108 (pp. 216-221); Nos. 119, 132 (pp. 276-282); No. 454 (pp. 306-310); No. 11 (pp. 463-467); No. 264 (pp. 471-476).







9. Forgotten texts



Mon., Oct. 21

Lecture: Voltaire and Adam Smith



Wed., Oct. 23

Discussion of Diderot

Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew, pp. 8-39; Supplement to the Voyage of Bougainville, 177-216


Fri., Oct. 25

Discussion of Hume


Hume, Of Essay Writing, pp. 1-4; Of the Standard of Taste, pp. 1-13; Of Superstition and Enthusiasm, pp. 1-4; Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion, pp. 1-4;



10. Bestsellers, rave reviews



Mon., Oct. 28

Lecture: The rise of the novel



Wed., Oct. 30

Discussion of Richardson’s Pamela

Richardson, Pamela, pp. 31, 43-118, 200-320


Fri., Nov. 1

Discussion of Fried


Fried, Absorption and Theatricality, chs. 1-2, pp. 7-107



11. Gender, I



Mon., Nov. 4

Lecture: Gender in the eighteenth century



Wed., Nov. 6

Discussion of DeJean

DeJean, Ancients Against Moderns, chs. 2-3, pp. 31-123


Fri., Nov. 8

Discussion of Goodman


Goodman, The Republic of Letters, pp. 53-165








Group A Readings

Group B Readings



12. Gender, II



Mon., Nov. 11

Lecture: Male identities in the eighteenth century



Wed., Nov. 13

Discussion of Jacob and Burke

Jacob and Burke, “French Freemasonry”


Fri., Nov. 15

Discussion of Wollstonecraft


Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman, chs 2, 3, 5, and 8



13. Empire



Mon., Nov. 18

Lecture: Trade and sentimentalism



Wed., Nov. 20

Discussion of Pratt


Pratt, Imperial Eyes, chs 1-3, 5; pp. 1-69, 86-110

Fri., Nov. 22

Discussion of Aravamudan

Aravamudan, Tropicopolitans, Introduction and ch. 7, pp. 1-25, 289-325




14. Toward Revolution



Mon., Nov. 25

Lecture: The crisis of the Old Regime

Anderson, 384-402


Wed., Nov. 27

Review discussion



Fri., Nov. 29








Mon., Dec. 2

Discussion of Maza

Maza, Private Lives and Public Affairs, ch. 1 (pp. 19-67)

Maza, Private Lives and Public Affairs, ch. 3 (pp. 112-166)

Wed., Dec. 4