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Enlightenment followed the Renaissance period and preceded the Romantic period. This period is also referred to as The Age of Reason. Writers of this period questioned authority and believed in change sparked by rational thinking. Influence of traditional authority (such as the church, social custom, and traditions) gave way to more critical modes of reasonable thought (science and critical analysis).
The pinnacle text of the period is Diderot's Encyclopédie. This text contains what Diedrot defined as the "most important knowledge of the day." Its pages included extensive writings on human needs, pleasures, curiosities, and duties (Collective Translation project).
Themes of this movement illuminated the superiority of the intellect, human goodness, and a real but uninvolved God (eNotes Enlightenment Themes). Essentially, reason lay at the very center of the Enlightenment period given the extent to which the representative authors questioned everything which had proceeded them.
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