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Home > Catalog > The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe
The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe


  • Page extent: 300 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 940.2/8
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: D286 .M44 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Enlightenment--Europe
    • Europe--Social life and customs--18th century
    • Europe--Intellectual life--18th century
    • Civil society--Europe--History--18th century
    • Printing--Social aspects--Europe--18th century

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521465731 | ISBN-10: 0521465737)

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$118.00 (X)

James Melton's accessible study examines the rise of "the public" in eighteenth-century Europe. Focusing on England, France, and the German-speaking territories, this is the first critical reassessment of what the philosopher JÜrgen Habermas called the "bourgeois public sphere" of the eighteenth century. Topics include the growing importance of public opinion in political life, transformations of the literary public realm, eighteenth-century authorship, theater publics, and new practices of sociability as they developed in salons, coffeehouses, taverns and Masonic lodges.


Introduction: what is the public sphere? Part I. Politics and the Rise of Public Opinion: The Cases of England and France: 1. The peculiarities of the English; 2. Opacity and transparency: French political culture in the eighteenth century; Part II. Readers, Writers and Spectators: 3. Reading publics: transformations of the literary public sphere; 4. Eighteenth century authorship; 5. From courts to consumers: theatre publics; Part III. Being Sociable: 6. Enlightenment salons; 7. Drinking in public: taverns and coffeehouses; 8. Freemasons; Conclusion.


"Now we have a well-written and conceptually clear account of the new public that arose in the major states of eighteenth-century Europe. ...Melton's book on the public sphere can be recommended for undergraduate teaching, or just as a good place to get graduate students started in the field." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"an elegant and thoughtful account of the public and the public sphere in eighteenth-century Europe....Melton has succeeded in encapsulating a vast wealth of scholarship into an engaging and important book." H-FRANCE

"The important contribution of this synthesis is its juxtaposition of recent literatures on France, England, and German-speaking Europe....Undergraduates will grasp the significance of a comparative study ranging from formal and extraordinary politics, public opinion, and publishing to authorship, theater, salons, public drinking, and freemasonary." Choice

"As a survey of contributions about the Enlightenment public in three different countries, the book makes its mark." Sharp News

"Melton excels in showing how some of Haberma's pronouncements are not always applicable; for example, the development of extra-authoritarian or extra-parliamentary discourse is not always oppositional, nor always de-christianizing or secular. Melton's access to sources for German-speaking areas of Europe is especially helpful. " Nancy Vogeley, University of San Francisco Eighteenth Century Studies

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