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Related: early Romanticism - 1700s

Books: The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) - Goethe

Early Romanticism

In literature, the Romantic period is often said to begin in the 1770s or 1780s with a movement known as "storm and struggle" in Germany. It was attended by a greater influence of Shakespeare and of folk sagas, whether real or created, as well as the poetry of Homer. Writers such as Goethe and Schiller radically altered their practices, while in Scotland Robert Burns began setting down folk music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_music [Apr 2006]

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) - Edward Gibbon

The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a major literary achievement of Eighteenth Century, was written by the British historian, Edward Gibbon. Volume I was published in 1776, which went through five printings. This was a remarkable feat for its time. The second Volume was printed in 1781, and the final one in 1788. The original Volumes were not published together, but as quartos, a common publishing practice.

Often referred to as “the first modern historian,” Gibbon was a precursor for the more advanced methodologies of 19th and 20th century historians regarding his objectivity and accuracy in the use of reference material. His pessimism and detached use of irony is a common genre of his age. While not his only published book, Gibbon devoted the greater part of his life to this one work. Even his Autobiography Memoirs of My Life and Writings is devoted for the most part to his reflections on how the writing of the book consumed his entire life. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire [Jan 2005]

System of Nature (1770) - Baron d'Holbach, Denis Diderot

In search of banned books.

System of Nature (1770) - Baron d'Holbach, Denis Diderot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The System of Nature is a philosophical book by Baron d'Holbach (Paul Henri Thiry, 1723-1789). He wrote this book (with the assistance of Diderot) anonymously in 1770, describing the universe in terms of philosophical materialism (i.e., the mind is the same thing as the brain, there is no "soul" without a living body, etc.), strict determinism (free will is an illusion, and whatever happens, must), and especially atheism.

Materialism, determinism, and atheism are logically related though distinct philosophical doctrines. [...]

To be sure, d'Holbach's views were not entirely original (but then he never claimed to be original): Hobbes had preceded him in materialism, Spinoza in determinism, and Hume in anti-religious attitudes. But in general, the philosophes of the French Enlightenment such as Diderot (a good friend of d'Holbach's) and Voltaire were not technically original philosophers - they were men of letters who publicized enlightened philosophy. And d'Holbach was more a patron of the Paris philosophes than a thinker in his own right. Perhaps this explains why d'Holbach is not well-known today (many dictionaries of philosophy don't even mention his name). D'Holbach himself would not have been too concerned, however: fame meant little to him (after all, he was a billionaire) as long as his ideas get the attention they deserve. He did not even seem to mind that this book (like most of his other books) had to be published under a pseudonym, just so he could avoid the gallows. (It was not for money or fame but truth that the rich man, noted for his personal kindness and generosity, risked his own neck.) --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_System_of_Nature [Apr 2006]

See also: French philosophy - materialism - banned books - Denis Diderot - 1700s - 1770s - enlightenment - nature

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