The Secular City
- 259 Pages
Central to the Enlightenment is the ideal of the Secular City, in militant reply to the Civitas Dei of St Augustine. The essays in this volume, all by distinguished eighteenth century specialists, illustrate the elaboration of that vision, both in the planning and depiction of actual cities and in the speculation on social justice to which Voltaire in particular devoted himself. Yet even in him, secularization is never total, and the persistence of a displaced religious, even messianic strain in the Enlightenment is also illustrated in a variety of writers, culminating in the contradictions of the French Revolution.
Central to the Enlightenment is the ideal of the Secular City, in militant reply to the Civitas Dei of St Augustine. The essays in this volume illustrate the elaboration of that vision, both in the planning and depiction of actual cities and in the speculation on social justice to which Voltaire in particular devoted himself.
Contents: Introduction: topographies of the secular city, David Meakin. Part 1 Images of the city: Paris et l'imaginaire de la ville dans les almanachs francais du XVIIIe siecle, Lise Andries; enlightenment London and urbanity, Roy Porter; city life in the 1720s - the example of four of Voltaire's acquaintances, Norma Perry; la cite des lumieres et l'homme selon la nature dans les Lettres philosophiques, Micheal Baridon; city, market-place, meal - some figures of totality in Voltaire's Contes, Robin Howells. Part 2 Voltaire and the secular ideal: some reflections on Voltaire's "l'Ingenu" and a hitherto neglected source - the "Questions sur les miracles", Graham Gargett; Voltaire and venality - the ambiguities of an abuse, William Doyle; reflexions alphabetiques sur la justice dans le "Dictionnaire philosophique portatif", Christiane Mervaud; signposts to the secular city - the Voltaire-Condorcet relationship, David Williams. Part 3 Cross-currents in the secular city: enlightenment cross-currents - the "Dictionnaire Philosophique" of Chicaneau de Neuville, David Adams; "Candide" and "Paul et Virgine" - two fictions of the enlightenment, Simon Davies; Bernardin de Saint-Pierre - unpublished prose fables, Malcolm Cook; le combat de Condorcet contre "l'infame", Anne-Marie Chouillet; religion and the secular city in Raynal's "Histoire des deux Indes", Anthony Strugnell; Le Reve universaliste de l'Orateur de genre humain, Roland Mortier.