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Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of…
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Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the… (original 1994; edition 1994)

by Larry Wolff

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592300,442 (3.71)None
Member:ftapon
Title:Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment
Authors:Larry Wolff
Info:Stanford University Press (1994), Paperback, 436 pages
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Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment by Larry Wolff (1994)

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Definitely a tough read even if you know lots about modern Eastern Europe. By the time you get to the chapter on Voltaire, the picture is already clear and a bit repetitive. Eastern Europe was backward and largely unknown, the people barbarian and uncivilised, yet not exotic as 'the orient'. This conveniently helped to define western Europe as 'civilisation as we know it'. Some similarities with the criticisms of The west made by Edward Said.

However some good stories and the intrepid women travellers were interesting

( )
  varske | Oct 25, 2015 |
A history of how the continent of Europe came to be conceived as divided into Western and Eastern Europe. ‘It was Western Europe that invented Eastern Europe as it’s complementary other half in the eighteenth century, the age of Enlightenment’ (p. 4).This book is an investigation of late eighteenth-century western ideas of Eastern Europe, ideas which persist today. The Enlightenment ideas of Eastern Europe as barbaric and, uncivilised and failing to ‘evolve’ to the same extent as the 'scientific west' were often written by authors who had never visited the countries they were writing about. In one of Wolff’s discussions about an essay written in 1914 he states; ‘the whole vocabulary in which the issues of Eastern Europe were defined was that of the eighteenth century: barbarism and civilisation, wildness and the frontier, the picturesque and the instructive, and finally an ingenuous note of surprise that the people were white’ (p. 366). Included are extensive notes and an index. This is a valuable book for those studying the idea of Eastern Europe which has persisted even without the Iron Curtain. ( )
1 vote DebbieMcCauley | May 13, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0804727023, Paperback)

This is a wide-ranging intellectual history of how, in the 18th century, Europe came to be conceived as divided into "Western Europe" and "Eastern Europe". The author argues that this conceptual reorientation from the previously accepted "Northern" and "Southern" was a work of cultural construction and intellectual artifice created by the philosophes of the Enlightenment. He shows how the philosophers viewed the continent from the perspective of Paris and deliberately cultivated an idea of the backwardness of "Eastern Europe" the more readily to affirm the importance of "Western Europe".

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This is a wide-ranging intellectual history of how, in the 18th century, Europe came to be conceived as divided into "Western Europe" and "Eastern Europe". The author argues that this conceptual reorientation from the previously accepted "Northern" and "Southern" was a work of cultural construction and intellectual artifice created by the philosophes of the Enlightenment. He shows how the philosophers viewed the continent from the perspective of Paris and deliberately cultivated an idea of the backwardness of "Eastern Europe" the more readily to affirm the importance of "Western Europe".… (more)

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