By Ursula Haskins Gonthier
Gonthier units Montesquieu's paintings within the context of early eighteenth-century Anglo-French kin. She takes a comparative method of convey how Montesquieu's engagement with English proposal and writing persevered all through his writing profession. He used to be fairly inspired through the social and political theories of Hobbes and Locke, the writings of the Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson, and essays that seemed in Addison and Steele's Spectator and Bolingbroke's Craftsman. Gonthier argues that Montesquieu's paintings is a domain of highbrow and cultural alternate among England and France in the course of the early Enlightenment.
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Additional resources for Montesquieu and England: Enlightened Exchanges 1689-1755 (The Enlightenment World: Political and Intellectual History of the Long Eighteenth Century, Volume 16)
In her insightful analysis of the Lettres persanes, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook reads the work’s introduction as exposing the societal pressures that stifled the development of a more open cultural space in Regency France. Cook examines the image of the limping woman, employed by the ‘translator’ to illustrate the necessity of his anonymity: ‘If my name was ever to be discovered, from that moment on I would write no more. 103 However, Cook’s claims should be adjusted to take account of our new reading of the Lettres persanes in the context of Montesquieu’s relations with England.
76 Usbek’s letters on the Troglodytes demonstrate the principles of communication within the public sphere, as exemplified by the Spectator, in a number of ways. Firstly, Usbek chooses the accessible literary form of the fable over ‘subtle philosophy’, a choice 30 Montesquieu and England frequently made by Addison himself in accordance with his mission to transmit enlightened ideas to a wide, non-scholarly public. 79 Shaftesbury in his Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour described the sphere of free and open debate represented by ‘the liberty of the Club’, in which all sorts of ideas could be discussed thanks to ‘that sort of freedom which is taken among gentlemen and friends who know one another perfectly well’.
Importing Good Sense 35 Locke’s Legacy In the long eighteenth century, Britain and Europe were transformed by the emergence of a new public sphere in opposition to the conventional centres of cultural activity, the royal court and the Church. Historians of ideas have traditionally connected this phenomenon with the impact of Lockean ideas on the development of Enlightenment thought. 106 Jonathan Israel has recently questioned Locke’s primacy in this field, making the case for Benedict Spinoza as the most radical of Enlightenment thinkers.
Montesquieu and England: Enlightened Exchanges 1689-1755 (The Enlightenment World: Political and Intellectual History of the Long Eighteenth Century, Volume 16) by Ursula Haskins Gonthier