Paul S. Spalding
Jonathan Israel appears not to credit sufficiently how ‘moderates’ could contribute in practice to the agenda of the Radical Enlightenment. General Lafayette struck compromises with the old order in France up to 1792, for instance, but only so as to promote radical values that he had pursued from youth and would continue to pursue for the rest of his long life. Liberal or centrist sympathizers, particularly those in London and Hamburg, provide another instance. During Lafayetteʼs incarceration and exile in 1792–1799, they supported him financially, maintained secret communications, plotted breakouts, and publicized his case. By defying the traditional order and helping enable his release and eventual return to public activity, they too promoted the radical agenda.
This essay explores some of the ways in which Jonathan Israel’s concept of Radical Enlightenment can be made useful for literary studies. An in-depth analysis of Sophie von La Roche’s novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim (1771) will show that although Israel offers little in the way of new insights into eighteenth-century gender relations, his pluralistic account of the Enlightenment does provide a fresh lens through which to reexamine the literary merits of female writers. It will also be argued that the benefits of pairing historiography with literary fiction run both ways – in other words, that La Roche, in turn, can help address what is missing from Israel’s thinking, namely an acknowledgment that some of the foremost intellectual debates of the time were also waged on literary ground, and also by women.
Hughes Félicité Robert de Lammenais
Edited by Sylvain Milbach and Richard Lebrun
Lamennais challenged traditional religious, political, and social thinking, leaving a fiercely debated reputation. The writings translated here allow 21st-century readers to judge him for themselves.
In this article, I show that Hobbes’s account of the generation of the commonwealth in both The Elements of Law and De Cive relies on ideas that he would come to theorise in terms of authorisation and representation in Leviathan. In this respect, I argue that the Leviathan account is better understood as filling in gaps and resolving equivocations in Hobbes’s theory, rather than marking a decisive break in his thinking. This argument is developed by substantiating two more specific theses. First, while Hobbes only explicitly distinguishes between the “alienation” and “authorisation” clauses of the covenant in Leviathan, the earlier versions of his theory rely on a two-clause account. Second, in the earlier versions of his theory, Hobbes equivocates between suggesting that the relation between the state and sovereign should be understood in terms of representation or identity; an equivocation that he would only resolve in Leviathan.
Bernard Stefan Baumrin
Three student digests of uncertain origin have been identified among the Hobbes manuscripts now at Chatsworth. This article describes the physical composition and contents of the manuscripts, identifies their textual sources, adds two previously unnoticed digests to the gathering, and offers some suggestions about their character, likely dates, and provenance.