Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226205106 Published March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226205243 Published March 2015

Light in Germany

Scenes from an Unknown Enlightenment

T. J. Reed

T. J. Reed

304 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226205106 Published March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $32.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226205243 Published March 2015
Germany’s political and cultural past from ancient times through World War II has dimmed the legacy of its Enlightenment, which these days is far outshone by those of France and Scotland. In this book, T. J. Reed clears the dust away from eighteenth-century Germany, bringing the likes of Kant, Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Gotthold Lessing into a coherent and focused beam that shines within European intellectual history and reasserts the important role of Germany’s Enlightenment.
Reed looks closely at the arguments, achievements, conflicts, and controversies of these major thinkers and how their development of a lucid and active liberal thinking matured in the late eighteenth century into an imaginative branching that ran through philosophy, theology, literature, historiography, science, and politics. He traces the various pathways of their thought and how one engendered another, from the principle of thinking for oneself to the development of a critical epistemology; from literature’s assessment of the past to the formulation of a poetic ideal of human development. Ultimately, Reed shows how the ideas of the German Enlightenment have proven their value in modern secular democracies and are still of great relevance—despite their frequent dismissal—to us in the twenty-first century. 
James Sheehan, Stanford University
“This book is a pleasure to read. Reed, a most distinguished scholar of German literature, brings to his subject a lifetime of learning as well as strong convictions and a refined literary sensibility. Reading like a prolonged conversation, it ably demonstrates the many sources of light in eighteenth century Germany and how they can still illuminate our present.”
W. Daniel Wilson, coeditor of Impure Reason: Dialectic of Enlightenment in Germany
“With this book, one of the most respected scholars in the field has written a passionate vindication of a passionate age, arguing in engaging, vigorous prose for its relevance to modern concerns. The German Enlightenment comes alive in all its aspects, questioning social, political, religious, and scientific norms and pushing the limits of reason itself; Reed also gives its contradictions a full account. Light in Germany is not only a sophisticated introduction for students and general readers but also an array of insightful interpretations, born of a lifetime of reading and thinking that will delight seasoned scholars.”
Hans Rudolf Vaget, author of Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain”
“Reed has done it again. With Light in Germany he has rendered invaluable service to all of those who cannot stop pondering the enigma of modern Germany. His wonderfully concrete and informed ‘scenes from an unknown Enlightenment’ compel us to reconsider the widespread disparagement of its philosophical, literary, and practical achievements by so many skeptics in the Anglophone world and in Germany itself. No small accomplishment!”
References, Translations, and Usage
Introduction: Out of Darkness
Chapter 1. Coming of Age: The Primal Scene
Chapter 2. A World of Our Own: An Epistemology for Action
Chapter 3. Hope in History: Making the Past Serve the Future
Chapter 4. Talking to Tyrants: Pens against Power
Chapter 5. Cosmopolitan Quandaries: Among Savages, Far and Near
Chapter 6. The Empty Heavens: From Dogma to Ethics      
Chapter 7. Apples and After: The Gravity of Science          
Chapter 8. Good Guardianship: Light through Education    
Chapter 9. Communication and Beyond: Means or End?     
Chapter 10. The Full Earth: A Lyrical Enlightenment           
Chapter 11. Peace in Whose Time? The Ultimate Prize        
A Conclusion? Toward Enlightenment         
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Chicago Blog: History

Events in History

Keep Informed

JOURNALs in History