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Enlightenment and Revolution: The Philosophical Novels of Dr John MooreGary Kelly Dr John Moore (1729-1802) was a man of the Enlightenment who wrote novels during the Revolutionary decade. His novels, like those of his English contemporary Robert Bage and the younger "English Jacobin" novelists, participate in the Enlightenment as a set of broadbased intellectual, cultural, and scientific movements, made up mostly of men (and a few women) from the upper classes and professions. More particularly, these novels participate in the Enlightenment as a movement of social criticism directed against what were seen as irrational and unprogressive court government and its dupes, the merely emulative middle classes on one hand and the equally irrational and unprogressive common people on the other.1 In some ways, the Revolution seemed to observers at the time as a culmination of this kind of Enlightenment 1 The Enlightenment was not a monolithic movement, and what it was is still matter for controversy ; but see Anand C. Chitnis, The Scottish Enlightenment: A Social History (London and Totawa, NJ: Croom Helm and Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), chap. 5, "The Study of Social Man"; Lucien Goldmann, The Philosophy ofthe Enlightenment: The Christian Burgess and the Enlightenment, translated by Henry Maas (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), pp. 1537 ; Thomas John Schlereth, The Cosmopolitan Ideal in Enlightenment Thought: Its Form and Function in the Ideas of Franklin, Hume, and Voltaire, 1694-1790 (Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1977), chap. 1, "The Sociology of an International Intellectual Class"; Charles Camic, Experience and Enlightenment: Socializationfor Cultural Change in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); Harry C. Payne, The Philosophes and the People (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1976); Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968), chap. 8, "The Revolutionary Climacteric"; and David Daiches, "The Scottish Enlightenment," in A Hotbed ofGenius: The Scottish Enlightenment, 1730-90, ed. David Daiches, Peter Jones, and Jean Jones (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1986). EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION, Volume 1, Number 3, April 1989 220 EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION social criticism; but in other ways the French Revolution and sympathetic responses to it in other parts of Europe exposed the contradictions within and the limitations of the Enlightenments. Moore's novels express, in their forms as well as their themes, the confidence, the contradictions, and perhaps the breakdown of the Enlightenment programme of social criticism faced with a revolutionary situation many thought that criticism had helped to bring about. Out of that crisis emerged new ways of conducting social criticism of "Old Corruption," the "privileged orders ," the "court system"; ways Moore partly anticipated but did not live long enough to share. Moore certainly knew the European Enlightenments at first hand. He belonged to the Scottish Enlightenment (where gentry and professionals were in particularly close collaboration)2 by education, by professional training, and even by marriage. He travelled widely on the Continent, and met such major Enlightenment figures as Voltaire and Frederick the Great. He was also a good example of the successful professional man of genteel manners and culture often associated with the progressive, capitalist, enlightened, cosmopolitan aristocracy.3 In his early years he belonged to two professions, the medical and the military; he studied and worked with leaders in progressive medicine in London and Glasgow; he married the daughter of the Professor of Divinity at Glasgow University; and he had close connections with the progressive Scottish aristocracy— perhaps among the most "improving" aristocrats in Britain, or Europe. In middle life he travelled in Europe with one of them, the eighth Duke of Hamilton, and he wrote up his travels as contributions to Enlightenment sociology of culture and contemporary life. While he lived in London, Moore also became a close friend of the Burney family, whose various members also showed an ability to combine genteel and professional cultures.4 After a full and successful professional life, Moore turned to a typical late Enlightenment literary project, the redemption of the "modern novel" (as it was called, to distinguish it from earlier courtly romances 2 T.C. Smout, A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830 (London: Collins, 1969), pp. 373-75. 3 For a negative view of the aristocracy...


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