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The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold…

The Creation of the Modern World: The Untold Story of the British…

by Roy Porter

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Disappointing, I liked his history of medicine and keen to follow through on the Enlightenment after reading A C Grayling. This is a kind of omnium gatherum of British intellectual life in the whole period from Restoration to Waterloo. Darts about confusingly in the chronology. But worse, crams in detailed lists about minor figures which further baffled me. Example: "Benjamin Martin lectured in Gloucester Salisbury Newbury Oxford, Chichester Bath Reading York Scarborough and Ipswich" !!! And an annoying stylistic mannerism of alliteration crops up on almost every page, such as "harbingers of hope" , "dark dilapidated and dangerous", reaching its finest flourish with a queer quintet: "fictions, frauds fantasies fables or fallacies". I am as great a fan of the Anglo-Saxon manner as any, but this, once noticed, is like watching a speaker with a nervous tic. Perhaps more fundamentally, the book's thesis is that the British aspect of the Enlightenment has been neglected. Well, the "Scottish Enlightenment" certainly hasn't: I've been aware of it since Hume was on my reading lists at Oxford back in the 60s; and it's implied in Edinburgh's soubriquet "Athens of the North". As for the Enlightenment's use of the metaphor of light which forms the base of his opening it was hardly new, even perhaps a cliché of philosophy, going back at least to Plato. ( )
  vguy | Aug 22, 2017 |
Enlightenment > Great Britain/Great Britain > Intellectual life > 18th/century
  Budzul | May 31, 2008 |
Porter guides the reader through the changes that are hallmarks of the Enlightenment as they transpired in and apply to Britain. Specifically he contends that the Enlightenment was every bit as much a British phenomenon as it was French and German. ( )
  AlexTheHunn | Jun 28, 2007 |
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