In his new book, George Huppert introduces the reader to a group of talented young men, some of them teenagers, who were the talk of the town in Renaissance Paris. They called themselves philosophes, they wrote poetry, they studied Greek and mathematics and they entertained subversive notions concerning religion and politics. Classically trained, they wrote, nevertheless, in French, so as to reach the widest possible audience. These young radicals would learn, in time, to speak softly, out of prudence, but they were heard clearly enough to foster a succession of disciples who would continue to express confidence in the eventual enlightenment of humankind. All attempts to suppress this movement failed, argues Huppert, because the program of the early philosophes and of their successors was deeply embedded in the educational system devised in the 1520s, the so-called style of Paris.As Huppert demonstrated in an earlier work, "Public Schools in Renaissance France", there was such a profusion of classical schools in France and these schools, in the sixteenth century, were so free of clerical or state interference that they became the foundation of a new culture which stood in direct opposition to age-old pieties.
The essential traits of this new culture are presented in this new book by means of a series of portraits. For the most part, the classics teachers, lawyers, scientists, and priests called on here to illustrate the philosophes outlook are little-known figures, but their legacy is substantial. Huppert sets the mature reflections of eighteenth-century ideologues such as Kant, Voltaire, or Jefferson against the background, not of occasional precursors, but of an entire culture ineradicably permeated by revolutionary ideas born in the classrooms and the bookshops of Renaissance Paris.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Weight: 386 g
Dimensions: 241 x 165 x 1270 mm