Words and Things

England was an outlier in the age of Enlightenment. It saw neither the emergence of an adversarial intelligentsia nor the rise of a new science of society. If there was an English Enlightenment, it was understated, unobtrusive and of a peculiarly conservative cast. These lectures approach the topic by way of eighteenth-century England’s acknowledged fascination with classical antiquity, focussing in particular on critical philology, pagan philosophical schools and ancient genres.

Lecture 6: Words and Things

This lecture explores the place of linguistic and scientific scholarship in the eighteenth-century English reception of the classics, with a particular focus on the era of the French Revolution. In addition, the series will conclude with an attempt to situate England relative to the recent classical turn in Enlightenment historiography.