Literary historians describe The Enlightenment as a movement that profoundly affected not only literature but also science, philosophy, politics, and religion. Because it lasted for over one hundred years, it evolved and came to have many manifestations. In The Enlightenment, author Norman Hampson comments, “Within limits, The Enlightenment was what one thinks it was.” He adds that “the Enlightenment was an attitude of mind rather than a course in science and philosophy.” Critics almost universally applaud The Enlightenment for its insistence that the world...
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