- L’Idée d’Europe au XVIIIesiècle: actes du Séminaire international des jeunes dix-huitiémistes, Gênes, 24–29 octobre 2005/The Idea of Europe in the 18th Century: Proceedings of the International Seminar for Young Eighteenth-Century Scholars, Genoa, 24–29 October 2005
This multilingual collection of thirteen articles is the outcome of a conference on the historical dimensions surrounding the notion of European identity, a subject that has become a prominent feature of recent discussions on the nature and future of the European Union and, more particularly, of the legitimacy of its decision-making procedures on the one hand, and its relationship with Turkey on the other. The focus of the collection is whether either of these aspects of the identity of Europe had any antecedents in the eighteenth century. The volume is divided into four sections, dealing respectively with European concepts of Europe, Europe seen from the outside, Europe as described in eighteenth-century travel writing, and Europe as seen in the eighteenth-century arts and sciences. The result is an interesting collection about an important subject, even though the variable quality of the contributions makes the whole array rather heterogeneous. Some contributions, like Nere Basabe’s wide-ranging chapter on eighteenth-century peace plans and their bearing on the work of Juan Francisco Siñeriz, an early nineteenth-century Spanish advocate of a European constitution, and Sabrina Broselow Moser’s chapter on Swiss Robinsonades, contain fascinating and absorbing material. Others, however, cover familiar ground (Saint-Pierre, d’Argenson, Rousseau, and Kant) in predictable ways. It is a pity that the publisher appears not to have checked the final proofs before the collection was printed, because the Index contains a list of names but no page numbers.