In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

372Philosophy and Literature thorial intentions and readerly agreement so to do). A key distinction established here is between "theory-constitutive" and "generative" metaphors: while the former tend to help further elaborate an existing view of the world, the latter possess adegree ofnovelty that helps to generate a new theory. Kearns proposes that the metaphor mind-as-entity often performs a theory-constitutive function in both fictional and psychological writings of the eighteenth century; by contrast , in some nineteenth-century fiction the metaphor sentience-as-life performs a generative function. A familiar limitation in much work of this kind is that literature tends to be reduced to the status of the merely evidential. Though some of Kearns's readings —Sterne, Richardson—offer little more than this, his accounts of other novelists have important potential critical implications—for instance, his discussion of the ways in which Dickens and Brontë elaborate and threaten, but fail to transcend, the mind-as-entity conception. The extended critical readings offered (Eliot and James) are impressively detailed and acknowledge subde but significant distinctions between texts. That these readings are so instructive is in part a function of Kearns's determination, in respect of both literature and intellectual history, to see pre-Freudian texts and their mentalistic metaphors in their own terms, "without Freudian conceptual and terminological baggage" (p. 18). Such a determination typifies a book in some respects written against the current of recent developments in literary studies. So too does the fact that this study of metaphor, a work which asserts language's ineluctable metaphoricity (p. 17), should make no reference to poststructuralism. Such omissions are notable, but not in this instance disabling. Kearns's "comprehensive humanistic study" (p. 18) attests to the continuing validity and value ofwork which combines rigorous scholarship, interests in empiricist modes, and "humanist" critical exegesis. La Trobe UniversityRichard Freadman The Enlightenment, by Roy Porter; xi & 95 pp. Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1990, $8.50 paper. Senior Lecturer in the Social History of Medicine at the Wellcome Institute in London and one of the leading scholars in the history of medicine between 1650 and 1850, Roy Porter has authored and coauthored several books on Reviews373 madness, medicine, and quackery in England. Now, in the Studies in European History Series, he attempts the insane task of summing up the Enlightenment and its contemporary criticism in fewer than one hundred pages. His method is (1) to divide his study into eight chapters—What was the Enlightenment?; The Goal: A Science of Man; The Politics of Enlightenment; Reforming Religion by Reason; Who was the Enlightenment?; Unity or Diversity?; Enlightenment and Beyond; Did the Enlightenment Matter?—(2) to refer the reader continually to specific entries in his annotated bibliography (108 entries) where they may find extended discussions of the many topics he broaches and (3) to limit himself to the major interpretations of the Enlightenment—e.g. Becker, Gay, Crocker, Hampson, H. F. May—and to gauge how valid they remain in 1990. Porter wisely sets up Peter Gay's work as a point ofdeparture and then shows how that work has been qualified by later scholars. For Gay, the age was not an age of reason, or of unreason; the philosophes were critics, men of the world seeking to understand itand change it. They popularized in order to get through to the people and sought, through education and science, to liberate humankind and establish "fairer laws, milder government, religious tolerance, intellectual freedom, expert administration" (p. 5). To Gay's "great men" theory of the Enlightenment is opposed Robert Darnton's "popular Enlightenment"; to his embattled few, Daniel Roche's "gens de culture"; to his origin of modern liberal humanism, J. L. Talmon's seeds of modern totalitarianism. The questions raised here are the ones that the remaining chapters explore: Was the Enlightenment an intellectual vanguard movement or simply the common coinage of polite society? Did the Enlightenment transform the society it criticized—and if so, how—or was it absorbed by it? Was the Enlightenment responsible for the French Revolution? Did it have such a fixed target? Did the undermining ofreligion lead to moral nihilism? Were Enlightenment values responsible for the institutionalization of the...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 372-374
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.