Above and beyond the Nation Cosmopolitan Networks

in Placing the Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780226904054
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226904078 | DOI:
Above and beyond the Nation Cosmopolitan Networks

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This chapter focuses on two closely related and seemingly more mundane artifacts: the letter and the book. It also considers the circulation, collection, and display of other artifacts—natural history specimens, instruments, and even other humans themselves—within this Enlightenment republic. Many influential Enlightenment works were published as letters: François-Marie Arouet or Voltaire's Lettres philosophiques sur les anglais, for example, in 1734, or Charles de Montesquieu's 1721 Lettres persanes. The move from correspondence in private to print in the public domain, and thus from one epistemic and social space to another, was common in the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was in general terms a cosmopolitan Republic of Letters whose boundaries, sustained by the production, circulation, and reception of correspondence and books, extended well beyond those of national territories.

Keywords: correspondence; letters; print; Enlightenment; Voltaire; Charles de Montesquieu; Republic of Letters; books; artifacts

Chapter.  8505 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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