Enlightenment

Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

MaryWollstonecraftA Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a 1792 work by Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest modern statements of the case for political and social equality for women.

Wollstonecraft strongly defended the French Revolution against the criticisms of Edmund Burke in her previous work, A Vindication of the Rights of Men. Her dismay at the new French regime's conservative proposals for female education provided the immediate occasion for a second Vindication addressed to the statesman responsible, Talleyrand. Though novel, her argument that women should exercise full political citizenship, and be educated accordingly, drew heavily on prevalent enlightenment concepts of natural rights.

After her early death, Wollstonecraft's work was overshadowed by the hostile reception to William Godwin's biography of her. However, her reputation recovered with the growth of the women's movement by the early twentieth century, and the Vindication has come to be seen as a central precursor to modern feminism.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman at online book stores
Amazon | bookshop.org (US) | bookshop.org (UK)

Free online texts
Early Modern Texts: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.
Gutenberg: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats. 
Internet Archive: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 1891 Unwin edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" »


Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France

Edmund_Burke_by_James_NorthcoteReflections on the Revolution in France is a 1790 work by Edmund Burke. The best-known critique of the revolution, it was originally written with a polemical purpose which deployed elements of satire as well as more considered arguments in attacking the revolutionaries and their British supporters.

Although many of Burke's factual claims have warranted close historical scrutiny, the influence of his ideas about the organic nature of society and the dangers of radical change based on abstract theory, have nevertheless made the Reflections a founding text of modern conservative thought.

Reflections on the Revolution in France at online book stores
Amazon | bookshop.org (US) | bookshop.org (UK)

Free online texts
Early Modern Texts: Reflections on the Revolution in France, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.
Gutenberg: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol III. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: On the Sublime and Beatiful, Reflections on the French Revolution, Letter to a Noble Lord. Harvard Classics edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Reflections on the Revolution in France. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: Reflections on the Revolution in France. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France" »


Burke: Philosophical Enquiry on the Origins of the Sublime and Beautiful

Edmund_Burke_by_Sir_Joshua_ReynoldsA Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful is a 1757 work by Edmund Burke, with an Introduction on Taste added two years later.

Burke's argument, widely influential in the eighteenth century, sought to establish the distinct nature of two sentiments: the beautiful, characterised as graceful and elegant; and the sublime, characterised as grand and terrible; the former linked to those objects likely to cause pleasure, the latter to those which arouse pain and fear.

The Sublime and the Beautiful at online book stores
Amazon | bookshop.org | Hive (UK bookshops)

Free online texts
Gutenberg: The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol I. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats. 
Internet Archive: On the Sublime and Beatiful, Reflections on the French Revolution, Letter to a Noble Lord. Harvard Classics edition. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Sublime and the Beautiful. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
Wikisource: On the Sublime and Beautiful. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Burke: Philosophical Enquiry on the Origins of the Sublime and Beautiful" »


Hegel: The Phenomenology of Mind

Hegel-and-Napoleon-in-Jena-1806
Hegel and Napoelon in Jena. Harper's Magazine, via Wikisource.

The Phenomenology of Mind or Phenomenology of Spirit (German: Phänomenologie des Geistes),  originally published in 1807, was the first major philosophical work by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and still the most influential.

Like much of Hegel's writing, it is notoriously difficult, but can be described as an account of the necessary steps in the development of thought. It's description of the relationship between self and other is significant for establishing the irreducibly social nature of consciousness.

The Phenomenology of Mind at online books stores

Amazon | bookshop.org | Hive

Free online texts

Translations

Internet Archive: The Phenomenology of Mind, Vol 1 | Vol 2, translated by J. B. Baillie. EPUB, MOBI, TXT and PDF formats.

Marxists Internet Archive: Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, translated by Terry Pinkard.

University of Adelaide/Internet Archive: The Phenomenology of Mind, translated by J.B. Baillie. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: The Phenomenology of Mind, translated by James Black Baillie. Currently introduction only. HTML and other formats.

German texts

Deutsches Textarchiv: Die Phänomenologie des Geistes. HTML, Text, XML formats.

Gutenberg: Phänomenologie des Geistes. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and PDF  formats.

Internet Archive: System der Wissenschaft - Erster Theil, die Phänomenologie des Geistes. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.

Continue reading "Hegel: The Phenomenology of Mind" »


Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

Adam_smithAn Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published by Scottish philosopher Adam Smith in 1776, is the foundational work in the tradition of classical political economy, the precursor of the modern discipline of economics.

Smith's defence of the free market was a powerful influence on 19th century liberalism. He was, however, also critical of institutions such as corporations, which have become increasingly characteristic of modern capitalism.

The Wealth of Nations at online book stores

Amazon | Bookshop.org | Hive.co.uk

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Adapted for modern readers by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: The Wealth of Nations. 1909 Harvard Classics edition. EPUB, MOBI, TXT and PDF formats.

Internet Archive: The Wealth of Nations. 1937 Modern Library edition. EPUB, MOBI, TXT and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: The Wealth of Nations. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations" »


Rousseau: The Social Contract

800px-Jean-Jacques_Rousseau_(painted_portrait)The Social Contract (French: Du Contrat Social) is a 1762 treatise by Jean Jacques Rousseau, outlining a theory of political rights based on unlimited popular sovereignty.

In contrast to Hobbes, Rousseau argues that is only in political society that human beings can be truly free. His suggestion that under circumstances people must be forced to be free has led some to see him as an authoritarian, although this has been challenged by those who stress his egalitarian republicanism. His undoubted role as a key intellectual influence on the French Revolution has given point to the controversy.

The Social Contract at online book stores

Amazon | Bookshop.org | Hive.co.uk

Free online texts

Early Modern Texts: The Social Contract, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: The Social Contract and Discourses, translated by G.D.H. Cole. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: A Treatise on the Social Compact. English translation. Multiple formats. Digitisation of a copy owned by John Adams.

Online Library of Liberty: Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (1901). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Social Contract. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: French texts and English translation by George Douglas Howard Cole. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Rousseau: The Social Contract" »


Gibbon: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Edward_Emily_GibbonThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon is an influential enlightenment account of Roman history from the peak of prosperity under the Antonine Emperors in the second century CE. Originally published in six volumes between 1776 and 1789, the later books bring the story all the way up to the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth century, taking in the rise of Islam and the Crusades on the way.

Although his methods were soon overtaken by new standards of historical criticism emanating from Germany, Gibbon's preference for primary sources was notable by the standards of his own day. Then and later, most controversy attached to his assessment of the role of Christianity in Rome's decdine. More recently, scholarship of the period now known as Late Antiquity has defined itself against the image of the Dark Ages which Gibbon helped to popularise.

Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire at online book stores
Amazon | Bookshop.org | Hive.co.uk

Free online texts
Gutenberg: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, edited by H.H. Milman. 
Internet Archive: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol I | Vol II, edited by J. B. Bury (1914). EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, with Notes by the Rev. H.H. Milman. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.
Wikisource: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Multiple editions, though each currently incomplete. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Gibbon: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" »


Milton: Areopagitica

Areopagitica_1644bw_gobeirneAreopagitica is a 1644 polemical essay by the poet John Milton arguing for freedom of the press. Written early in the English Civil War, at a moment when Parliament had broken the authority of Charles I's controls on publishing, it was unsuccessful in dissuading the dominant Presbyterian faction from instituting its own censorship. It nevertheless became a formative influence on later arguments for freedom of speech in the  liberal tradition.

Areopagitica at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Dartmouth College: Areopagitica. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Areopagitica. HTML, EPUB, Kindle and TXT formats.

Internet Archive. English Minor Poems, Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, Areopagitica. Britannica Great Books edition. EPUB, TXT, MOBI and PDF formats.

Internet Archive. Areopagitica. Clarendon (1894) with notes by John W. Hales. EPUB, TXT, MOBI and PDF formats.

Internet Archive: Essays Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis by Francis Bacon, Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton and Religio Medici by Thomas Brown. Harvard Classics, Vol 3. EPUB, TXT, MOBI and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Areopagitica. PDF, EPUB, TXT and Kindle formats.

Wikisource: Areopagitica. HTML and other formats. See also Harvard Classics edition.

Other Resources

Librivox: Areopagitica | Areopagitica (version 2) - public domain audiobooks.

Wikipedia: John Milton - Areopagitica

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Euripides: The Suppliants - quoted at the start of the text.

Isocrates: Areopagitikos - the inspiration for the title of Milton's work.

John Aubrey: Brief Lives - includes a life of Milton.

Harold Bloom's Western Canon: includes the Areopagitica.


Swift: Gulliver's Travels

800px-Captain_lemuel_gulliverGulliver's Travels is a 1726 work by Jonathan Swift, now most often read in versions adapted for children, but originally a sharp satire of contemperary Europe.

Gulliver's successive encounters with the people of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, Laputa and with the Houyhnhnms, raise questions about the nature and influence of society that contrast, perhaps deliberately, with the individualism of Swift's contemporary, Daniel Defoe, in Robinson Crusoe.

Gulliver's Travels at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Gulliver's Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World. HTML, EPUB, Kindle and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: Gullivers' Travels. EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Gullivers Travels. HTML, EPUB, and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Gulliver's Travels

Continue reading "Swift: Gulliver's Travels" »


Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason

Immanuel_Kant_(painted_portrait)The Critique of Pure Reason (German: Kritik der reinen Vernunft), often known as the First Critique, is a 1781 work by Immanuel Kant. It is a foundational text of modern Western philosophy, proposing a 'Copernican turn' in the approach to central questions posed by previous thinkers. Rather than assuming that the mind must conform to its objects, Kant posited that objects must conform to our minds. Objects must conform to the conditions of possible experience to be experienced at all, and so we can know that they will conform to them, but that knowledge does not extend beyond our experience, to things as they are in themselves, limiting our ability to make many traditional metaphysical claims.

The Critique of Pure Reason at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy
Free online texts

English translations

Early Modern Texts: The Critique of Pure Reason, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: The Critique of Pure Reason. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn (Everyman's Library edition, 1934). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by J.M.D. Meiklejohn. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Multiple English translations including J.M.D. Meiklejohn, F. Max Müller and Norman Kemp Smith. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason" »