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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
The Enlightenment
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on 22 June 2015
A novice will struggle with the nitty-gritty of the ideas coming from Newton and Locke to other key protagonists such as Descartes, Voltaire, Diderot, Maupertuis, Montesquieu, Hume, Hoblach, and numerous others. However, the author paints a very readable picture of the lead-up to, ambience, and aftermath of the Enlightenment and its key thinkers as they exploited contemporary mediatic opportunities such as coffee houses and a growing printing industry in which publishers became a new breed looking for opportunity. He describes the age as one of reasonableness, as men wrestled with the growing realisation that scientific phenomena and exploration could explain what had hitherto been attributed to divine intervention. To quote, “Science . . . seemed to have dispensed with the Middle-Age need for God as a necessary factor in the explanation of the universe”. The empirical age denoted the shift between soul and body, from the belief in original sin to man being guided by beneficent providence. He makes as astonishing claim: “Most people – for the first time, perhaps, in modern history – preferred their own age to any that had gone before.” Superstition, the Inquisition, and trials for witchcraft saw their demise. Maupertuis said “If we think we know anything, this is merely because of our extreme ignorance”, and around mid-eighteenth century arrived a rescuing drive towards mind over matter, away from the domination of science and reason towards a cult of sensibility, of sentiment, emotional writing, moral duty, genius and individuality, the recognition that passion, imagination and conscience should take precedence. Instead of man having to conform with society, society should conform with man. However, clouds grew. Social order remained static, the rabble remained unenlightened, and the drive towards a truly cosmopolitan society in Europe met, for example, with the contradiction that the period was marked by a dramatic fall in the number of books printed in universal language (Latin). The arrival of wars meant that monarchies had to widen the net of taxation to include the hitherto privileged classes and the Church, there was resistance to this, and Europe descended into revolution by the educated but unprivileged classes, and eventually the masses.
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on 29 May 2002
Tampa Red was at the height of his popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. He played a National guitar (built of metal) and had a very polished, precise slide style. This makes him a good place to start for those new to listening to "vintage" acoustic blues. And, let's face it, at this kind of price you can't go far wrong!
Another reason for sampling Tampa Red is that he was very fond of "good time" music (and songs full of double-entendres); most his songs and instrumentals are quite accessible. Unfortunately his love of good time music made him very fond of playing kazoo, but don't panic - like the Catfish anthology "Voice of the blues" this title has little of that dreadful sound!
Of the instrumentals "Denver blues" and "You've got to reap" are especially fine, and some of the vocal arrangements are also good, particularly "Seminole blues", but there's plenty of excellent stuff here.
The Catfish title has the edge over this one in terms of packaging, and probably a slight edge when it comes to sound quality. To be honest, though, despite a small overlap, this title makes a good companion to that one.
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on 31 March 2009
I originally purchased this book in 1984 and have never parted with it. I purchased it off the back of an Open University programme on Bath (presented by top academic, Colin Cunningham) for what became the A204 course on The Enlightenment (Now A207). Rousseau, Kant and Goethe are all here. Mr Hampson is a scholar of exceptional writing and in doing so passes on the font of all knowledge in this volume. Primarily, this book draws together the key philosophical (and scientific) debates and nuances from the period 1760 to 1830. This is the age of the arts (with Roman and Greek Antiquities laid down as the highest standard in all art) and of course, the characters that shaped this period's creativity. This is the age of Rousseau, Reynolds, Herschel, Kant, Goethe, Mozart, et al. This is the age of the Grand Tour and appreciation. It is pre-modernity and modernism but there again it is the industrial and social revolution of Europe. The leaders such as Frederick The Great. This book is a superb signpost to other works on the subject.
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VINE VOICEon 1 September 2007
I picked up this book as someone in search of a broad introduction to the Enlightenment rather than as an expert and it served that purpose very well. Lucidly written it outlines the chronology, the themes and the characters which together made the 18th century so significant.

Hampson is an entertaining as well as educative writer and, it would seem to me at least, chose to give more time to individuals that he found interesting than their contribution might strictly have made appropriate. I especially liked his inclusion of the bloodthirsty De Maistre, who he describes as having a religion 'more Aztec than Christian'.

I dare say that there have been more recent overviews of the Enlightement written, but this is definitely worth reading. Apart from its scholarly merit some of the author's insights are uncannily prescient - don't forget they were made in the 1960s - and all the more fascinating for that.
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on 10 July 2007
Okay so there is a little background noise but isn't that expected on these old recordings and doesn't it add to the authenticity? Tampa Red was a true master of the guitar and inspired the likes of Elmore James. I would buy this cd just for the instrumental version of "It Hurts Me Too", however, there are alot of really great tunes on here.
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on 23 November 2014
I sent this important little book to my step-granddaughter: it's clear that people in the 21st century would do well to see what the "Enlightenment" did for those living it! Since then we might have done so much more culturally, artistically in the UK rather than failing in the arts and humanities so badly.
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on 20 October 2010
nice book read it over the summer before the start of A207 - and it was nice to know some background to the course.
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