This masterly study has a grand sweep. It ranges over centuries, with a long look backward over several millennia. Yet the history it unfolds is primarily the story of individuals: thinkers and dreamers who envisaged an ideal social order and described it persuasively, leaving a mark on their own and later times. The roster of utopians includes men of all stripes in different countries and eras--figures as disparate as More and Fourier, the Marquis de Sade and Edward Bellamy, Rousseau and (...) Marx. Fascinating character studies of the major figures are among the delights of the book. Utopian writings run the gamut from fictional narratives to theoretical treatises, from political manifestos to constitutions for a new society. The Manuels have structured five centuries of utopian invention by identifying successive constellations, groups of thinkers joined by common social and moral concerns. Within this framework they analyze individual writings, in the context of the author's life and of the socio-economic, religious, and political exigencies of his time. Concentrating on innovative works, they highlight disjunctures as well as continuities in utopian thought from the Renaissance through the twentieth century. Witty and erudite, challenging in its interpretations and provocative in the questions it poses, the Manuels' anatomy of utopia is an adventure in ideas. (shrink)
Turgot, Baron de l'Aulne: The future of mind.--Marquis de Condorcet: The taming of the future.--Comte de Saint-Simon: The pear is ripe.--Children of Saint-Simon: The triumph of love.--Charles Fourier: The burgeoning of instinct.--Auguste Comte: Embodiment in the great being.
This collection brings together the moral, social, and political ideas of the great eighteenth-century thinkers at the height of their influence. Included here are Voltaire's popularization of Newton's scientific worldview, Hume's anatomy of the origins of religion, Rousseau on education and the "natural man," Diderot in dialogue with literature's first "alienated man," Kant on universal peace, and Condorcet on the idea of progress.
Three scientists in search of God -- Deists on true and false gods -- A psychology of everyday religion -- A godless history -- Israel in the Christian Enlightenment -- Theodicy of a pietist -- The triadic metaphor.