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HIST 388, Great Personalities in Hist., Enlightenment Philosophers (Brown): Library Guides

Great Personalities in History: Enlightenment Philosophers

The Enlightenment - Primary Source Collections

Works by Rousseau in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Jefferson in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Paine in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Gibbon in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Diderot in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Montesquieu in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Locke in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Smith in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Voltaire in HathiTrust Digital Library

Works by Hume on HathiTrust Digital Library

Digital editions

Original printings and early reprints

  • Find in rare book rooms or digitized in databases like Eighteenth Century Collections Online
  • Variations are common even within the same printing
  • Books or pamphlets sold by booksellers 

Nineteenth century editions

  • Find in libraries or freely available online (Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive)
  • Out of copyright if published before 1923
  • Translators and editors may or may not be identified; may or may not document their editorial choices

Home library series editions

  • Find in libraries or freely available online (Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive)
  • 19th and 20th century, usually with fancy bindings
  • Readable translations for a popular audience - usually abridged or condensed

20th century 'standard' editions

  • Widely owned by libraries and individuals - publishers include Modern Library (American), Everyman's Library (British)
  • Bindings look similar to others in the series
  • For some authors and works, these editions are widely cited in early-mid 20th century scholarship

Scholarly editions

  • Almost always 20th or 21st century
  • Editor and translator are named and are well known academic authorities
  • Always include extensive notes, introductory essays, description of methods used
  • Usually published by university press 


The full text of letters and diary entries, often from works that have been previously published as books containing collections of letters or diaries. Use the Browse indexes to find works about specific historical or life events.

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Reference Books

Journal Articles and Book Reviews

(note that you can search all of these databases at the same time by going into any one and using the Choose Databases option to add others)


Enlightenment: a very short introduction

Call Number: Lied Library Book Stacks B802 .R63 2015

To many, the Enlightenment remains the inspiration of our commitments to the betterment of the human condition. To others, it represents the elevation of one set of European values to the world, many of whose peoples have quite different values. 

John Robertson explores how the Enlightenment's supporters exploited new ways of communicating their ideas to a wider public, creating a new "public sphere" for critical discussion of the moral, economic and political issues facing their societies.

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment


Defining the Enlightenment as the "long eighteenth century," the Encyclopedia focuses on the entire range of philosophic and social changes engendered by the Enlightenment. 

A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography


A Companion to Enlightenment Historiography offers a survey of the most important historians and historiographical debates in the long eighteenth century, examining these debates' stylistic, philosophical and political significance.

The Enlightenment: history of an idea


Ferrone explains why the Enlightenment was a profound and wide-ranging cultural revolution that reshaped Western identity, reformed politics through the invention of human rights, and redefined knowledge by creating a critical culture. These new ways of thinking gave birth to new values that spread throughout society and changed how everyday life was lived and understood. 

The Enlightenment: a comparative social history

Call Number: Lied Library Book Stacks B802 .M86 2000

What did the Enlightenment mean for people who were not intellectuals or members of a wealthy elite? Thomas Munck shows the profound impact of Enlightenment ideas on a broad range of social groups, demonstrating that the Enlightenment can be fruitfully studied from the vantage point of ordinary people. 

George Washington's False Teeth

Call Number: Lied Library Book Stacks DC33.4 .D36 2003

George Washington was inaugurated as president in 1789 with one tooth in his mouth, a lower left bicuspid. The Father of His Country had sets of false teeth that were made of everything but wood, from elephant ivory and walrus tusk to the teeth of a fellow human.

Darnton shows  that the Enlightenment had false teeth also - that it was not the Father of the Modern World, responsible for all its advances and transgressions. In restoring the Enlightenment to a human scale, Darnton locates its real aims, ambitions and significance. 

Enlightenment Thought: an anthology of sources


In the originality of the choice of texts, in its range and depth, this collection offers both wide coverage and striking insights into the intellectual transformation which has done more than any other to shape the world in which we live today.

The Pursuit of Laziness

Call Number: Lied Library Book Stacks B802 .S25 2011

We think of the Enlightenment as an era dominated by ideas of progress, production, and industry--not an era that favored the lax and indolent individual. But was the Enlightenment only about the unceasing improvement of self and society?

The Pursuit of Laziness examines moral, political, and economic treatises of the period, and reveals that crucial eighteenth-century texts did find value in idleness and nonproductivity. This book explores idleness in all its guises, and illustrates that laziness existed, not as a vice of the wretched, but as an exemplar of modernity and a resistance to beliefs about virtue and utility.

The Sensational Past:how the Enlightenment changed the way we use our senses

Call Number: Lied Library Book Stacks BF233 .P87 2017

Blindfolding children from birth? Playing a piano made of live cats? Using tobacco to cure drowning? Wearing "flea"-colored clothes? These actions may seem odd to us, but in the eighteenth century, they made perfect sense. As often as we use our senses, we rarely stop to think about their place in history. But perception is not dependent on the body alone.

Carolyn Purnell persuasively shows that, while our bodies may not change dramatically, the way we think about the senses and put them to use has been rather different over the ages. 

Ends of Enlightenment


Ends of Enlightenment explores three realms of eighteenth-century European innovation that remain active in the twenty-first century: the realist novel, philosophical thought, and the physical sciences, especially human anatomy.

The European Enlightenment was a state of being, a personal stance, and an orientation to the world. Ways of probing experience and knowledge in the novel and in the visual arts were interleaved with methods of experimentation in science and philosophy. This book probes the kinship among realism, hypothesis, and scientific fact, defining in the process the rhetorical basis of public communication during the Enlightenment.

The Declaration of Independence: America's First Founding Document in U. S. History and Culture


This A-to-Z encyclopedia surveys the history, meaning, and enduring impact of the Declaration of Independence by explaining its contents and concepts.

Enemies of the Enlightenment


Critics have long treated the most important intellectual movement of modern history--the Enlightenment--as if it took shape in the absence of opposition.

Darrin McMahon demonstrates that, on the contrary, contemporary resistance to the Enlightenment was a major cultural force, shaping and defining the Enlightenment itself from the moment of inception, while giving rise to an entirely new ideological phenomenon - what we have come to think of as the "Right."


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