ENGL 2210 World Literature II

The Enlightenment in Europe. Reading Questions.

  1. What are the approximate years of the period of Enlightenment?
  2. How did the traditional social order change during this period?
  3. What did Rene Descartes contribute to the philosophy of being?
  4. What was the conflict between reason and passion in man's nature, and how was man supposed to deal with it?
  5. What is Deism? Why do you think Deism has not caught on as a major established religion?
  6. From which social group were the writers of the Enlightenment?
  7. What did "public" life designate?
  8. What were the French "salons"? Who presided over them?
  9. How did authors deal with the discrepancy between the social codes of behavior and how people acted in real life?
  10. Comment on the importance of the social group over the individual in 18th century society. Compare this to the view of our society today.
  11. Comment on the view of marriage.
  12. Comment on the role of women.
  13. Comment on the 18th century view of nature. What did nature represent?
  14. Comment on the concept of nature as a model for social complexities.
  15. Comment on the concept of the constancy of human nature.
  16. What was the role and purpose of manners in the 18th century? Why are they necessary in a society? Why do you think they differ from one period to another and from one society to another?
  17. What was the role of literature in the 18th century?
  18. What was the quarrel between the Ancients and the Moderns in England and France all about?
  19. How was satire defined and what was its role? What was the role of the author?
  20. List five main components of Enlightenment thought and comment on each one.