This is Enlightenment From the Mediations of Enlightenment to Kants essay An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784) Defining Enlightenment Traditional Definitions of Enlightenment: An intellectual and scientific movement of 18th century Europe which was characterized by a rational and scientific approach to religious, social, political, and economic issues -- Dictionary.com Certain thinkers and writers, primarily in London and Paris, believed
that they were more enlightened than their compatriots and set out to enlighten them. They believed that human reason could be used to combat ignorance, superstition, and tyranny and to build a better world. Their principal targets were religion (embodied in France in the Catholic Church) and the domination of society by a hereditary aristocracy. (Paul Baines, Washington State University) But, consider some of the achievements of the Enlightenment: the New Science (Natural Philosophy), the British Empire from India to America, democratic revolutions in America, France, and Haiti, the development of feminism and the anti-slavery movement they were not simply or primarily intellectual The Enlightenment is an event in the
history of mediation Defining mediation 1. mediations include the work done by media of every kind (such as speech, writing, print, images, music); 2. mediations express agency: a. individuals and groups may be mediators, b. Other mediators: tools and technology; institutions; buildings and cities; 3. mediations intervene, enable, supplement Enlightenment is made possible by four new kinds of mediation: 1: infrastructure, 2: genres and formats, 3: associational practices, and 4: protocols
I: Infrastructure : the Post A public (rather than government only) system that is open to all who can write and read Reliable, periodic delivery Valuing dispatch or speed, the post reduces social distance Privacy secured by the fold and seal Important indirect effects: each receiver gets an address (street name and number); the post distributes newspapers, journals, magazines, and books (~broadcasting)
Infrastructure : the Turnpikes Turnpikes are built throughout England The mail, people and things are transported at greater speed Result: the amount of communication, trade and travel increases & the world appears smaller Infrastructure: Public Spaces Coffee shops, Taverns,
and Inns Spaces where strangers could gather and friends could associate Coffee shops subscribed to newspaper and allowed their use by customers Coffee shop and Inn London Tavern (1720) and Country Inn II: Formats and genres: the Newspaper
Single folio sheet, folded once to make 4 pages A record of noteworthy events, important public documents, opinions, market prices, lots of ads, marriages, births and deaths, etc. novels are advertised, criticized and serialized 3 effects of newspaper reading 1. Created as sense of a dynamic now, a present is constantly changing: follow the news!; this novel recently published! 2. Assumes a vast imagined community of fellow readers 3. The emergence of a public that could be addressed and persuaded
Bi-Weekly newspaper & Monthly magazine Formats and genres (2): out of the Petition to Authority comes A petition to authority assumes an instituted social hierarchy An effective petition requires: a humble address to the monarch that depends upon his or her grace; a respectful statement of the rights of the subject; an account of
the grievances for which the petition seeks redress. The Petition of the Massachusetts Assembly to George III of Great Britain Petition: We the people of Massachusettsrelying upon your gracious love for your loyal subjects, approach the throne with awe and respect; we remind you that the English constitution makes it illegal to tax subject by any
body other than that composed of our own elected Representatives; however, recently the British Parliament has levied a tax upon the American colonies; we ask you for redress from this grievance. Presented to the King in 1768 Reply: His Majesty is determined to enforce the laws of Great Britain; He has, with the advice and consent of the
Parliament has the authority to bind his subjects in all cases whatever, as determined by the laws of Parliament. The petition is rejected; furthermore, His Majesty believes it does not represent the true opinions of his loyal subjects in Massachusetts, but the artifices of a few who seek to create groundless jealousy and distrust. July, 1773
the Popular Declaration Changes the direction of address and its tone: from monarch to fellow citizens rights are stated boldly; violations are listed with indignation; Popular declarations mediate the American Revolution and the countless revolutions that would come later.
Other new genres: novels, dictionaries, encyclopedias Novels: fictional stories of contemporary private life novels gradually supplant poetry and drama as the most influential form of literature [the rise of the novel] Dictionaries offered a comprehensive systematic organization of language; Encyclopedias sought to do this for all knowledge Media Effects Debate during the Enlightenment: what is the effect of novel reading upon young people?
III: New associational practices: Clubs, Societies, Committees Clubs are voluntary, friendly, egalitarian gatherings, which meet periodically and are not usually oriented toward a single purpose Societies for the advancement/improvement of science, morals, the abolition of slavery, etc. Example: the Royal Society (1660) had committees on mechanics, chemistry, electricity; a journal; regular meetings; its Latin motto: Take no mans word Political committees of correspondence they network for revolution
Masonic Meetings (England circa 1710, Vienna 1790) and A Society of Patriotic Ladies in North Carolina (1775) Book Store and Circulating Library offer access to novels: James Lackington Circulating Library IV: Protocols Definition: Protocols are enabling constraints: the rules, codes, and habitual practices that help to secure the channels, spaces, and means of communication. I will focus briefly on four: the postal principle,
copyright, public credit, and free speech. Protocols: the postal principle and public credit Postal principle: by which any one can address any one: the posts consistency of address, periodicity, dispatch, and privacy assure users that they can communicate regularly and securely by letter Public credit allowed nations and companies to raise money in exchange for interest (of 4 or 5%) This abstract new genre of money promotes huge expansion in global commercial markets
Protocols (2): copyright and free speech The first modern copyright law (1710) grants authors legal ownership of a work for 14 years, renewable once, striking a balance between a financial incentive to authors, AND benefit to the public with a robust and unencumbered access to works that fall out of copyright Freedom of Speech: as the condition of the possibility of many Enlightenment mediations (post, newspaper, associations, etc) Three features of Enlightenment mediations
1. Built through ingenuity, energy & capital 2. they often have unintended consequences Literacy acquired for the sake of religious study can be used to read novels The Royal Post developed to strengthen the British empire can be used to subvert it (during American Revolution) 3. These four kinds of mediation work together to build a new platform for action
Example 1: the project of Enlightenment science Example 2: the Enlightenment revolutions Example 3: the rise of novel reading Watt and formal realism Report on chapter 1 (Lizzie Callaway): Does British empirical philosophy provide the intellectual substructure for the new novel? Watt uses philosophy to track a modern shift in the world view about the nature of reality:
unconventional plot/ repeat old plots-stories-legends particular/ general the individual/ type (naming characters) time-bound / timeless (texture of daily experience) placeness / abstract location (placed in richly described environment) plain mimetic language/ rhetorical, figurative language
= an authentic account of the actual experiences of individuals (27) Is formal realism the convention for the modern novel? Watt and the reading public Report on chapter 2 (Roberta Wolfson): the reading public and the rise of the novel How does their early social history of the reader explain the rise of the novel? Can we change Watt into an ANT? Should we? To flatten the field of analysis, ANT requires that we a) bracket the literary claims for value of the realistic novel;
b) suspend the conventional priority he gives to a few authors c) organize the actors into a networked array Literary History Communication n tio a rm tion o f
In rcula Ci Education EEvvee nntt Improvement but also Entertainment The Rise of the
Middle Class Realistic Novels aass IIddee History of Ideas, Philosophy ANT analysis allows us
imagine the relation among many different mediators of the novels rise Book formats Booksellers & Copyright, Novelists & writing for market Economics CCoom
mm meerrcc ee British Empiricism yy aacc eerr LLiitt Alternative to romance:
formal realism The Post & Newspaper & Review History Text Genr e
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