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The Secular Enlightenment$
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Margaret C. Jacob

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161327

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161327.001.0001

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Paris and the Materialist Alternative

Paris and the Materialist Alternative

The Widow Stockdorff

(p.89) 4 Paris and the Materialist Alternative
The Secular Enlightenment

Margaret C. Jacob

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the origins of the Enlightenment in France. The Enlightenment in France depended partially on foreign influences, generally coming from England and the Dutch Republic. That does not detract from the brilliance of its leading lights nor the courage of the denizens of its clandestine markets. All were eager to make a profit, to be sure, but they also wanted a different social and political order, a secular order with fewer churchmen, less censorship, more tolerance, and justice for the poor and oppressed. The chapter then studies the role of booksellers in revealing the nature of the Enlightenment, especially if they specialized in the materialist and pornographic and had the misfortune to be imprisoned in the Bastille for their illegal trade. The genre of materialist works must be broadly defined to include the rabidly anticlerical and anti-Catholic.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, French Enlightenment, secular order, censorship, materialism, pornography, anti-Catholic, anticlerical

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