Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $49.50
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (4 vol. set) Hardcover – December 26, 2002

2 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$756.36 $434.99

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* As Kors' preface observes, the Enlightenment is "a set of tendencies and developments of European culture from the 1670s to the early nineteenth century (including in the American outposts of that culture)." An encyclopedia that attempts to cover such a span of time and most of western Europe and America is faced with a daunting task. Fortunately, the more than 400 contributors from around the world are up to it, producing a work that will be of use to anyone interested in virtually any topic from this time period.

The alphabetically arranged set of just under 700 entries (counting the many subentries, such as the separately authored articles "An Overview" and "Philosophical Legacy" under the main entry Colonialism) has articles running from about a page or so (Defoe, Daniel; Latrobe, Benjamin) to more than 14 pages (Republicanism). Topics include overviews of cities or countries (Milan, Spain) as well as of more general topics such as Moral philosophy, Opera, or Technology. Fully half of the entries are biographical, covering people from all disciplines and countries. Among them are several contemporary figures, such as historians Peter Gay and Jurgen Habermas. One of the longest entries (at more than 12 pages) is the historiographical Enlightenment studies, which describes the conflicts engendered by and the diverse constructions applied to the concept of the Enlightenment over the past 300 years. The encyclopedia itself reflects this diversity by presenting, as the preface states, "a wide range of general and particular contexts, schools of thought, and interpretations." For example, the article Sexuality concludes by noting that "[the Marquis de] Sade's writing marks an important turn, showing pornography as political because it focuses on subjugating women, and as erotic because that subjugation is the source of arousal and sexual performance." On the other hand, the contributors for the entry Pornography state "we believe that Sade was a bad man and a boring writer who deserved his incarceration."

The encyclopedia is augmented by more than 200 illustrations (primarily reproductions of engravings or other art), six maps, a topical outline of articles at the beginning of the set, and a superb index at the end. All articles conclude with cross-references to other entries and a bibliography that typically lists primary works, important scholarly works regardless of language, and the most useful studies in English. Many bibliographies include brief annotations.

This is the third work published recently that bears the same title. Facts On File's Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (1996) is a one-volume resource intended for a more general audience. The two-volume Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment edited by Michel Delon (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001) is a translation of a work originally published in 1997 in France, featuring just over 350 entries from more than 200 contributors, although there are no biographical entries. The recent publication date of the Fitzroy Dearborn set at a price ($285) just over half that of the Oxford could give many libraries pause before deciding to add the latter to their collections. Academic institutions offering programs in Enlightenment studies could not go wrong with both sets, but Oxford has an edge in that it is not as centered on France. The inclusion of biographical entries likewise gives Oxford an advantage in any larger public or academic libraries that have a need for material in this area.

The following is a list of additional recent and recommended reference sources. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This new work offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date coverage available....Impressive range and currency."--Library Journal [Starred Review]

"The definitive reference source for this enormously important epoch."--American Reference Book Annual

"The most comprehensive resource available about the era that transformed Western Civilization."--Historical Media Review

"Extremely well timed."--Boston Globe

"An excellent choice for students."--School Library Journal

"A valuable guide to the period."--History Magazine

"One of the most ambitious and important reference works to be published in recent years."--Reason

"Highly Recommended."--Choice


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1920 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195104307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195104301
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,502,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Conceptor on December 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To anyone who has learned from him the 1600-year "evolution" of "The Enlightenment", from Aristotle through Newton, Dr. Kors is accepted as THE leading authority on the subject.
In private correspondence, Dr. Kors has acknowledged that - while it is clear that all the other stated objectives of this four-volume work are achieved very explicitly and thoroughly - with regard to the objective of describing the influence of The Enlightenment on today's world, the information is not embodied in any single one of the essays; rather, that particular topic is addressed in several ways by at least four different authors.
I remain convinced that if Dr. Kors could direct our systems of public education in addressing the epistomologic upheaval that was "The Enlightenment" - and if dissemnnation of The Enlightenment could regain the ground it has lost to the population explosion of the last 5 decades - we and our progeny would enjoy a much more harmonious and mutually gratifying society.
In my opinion, this work deserves to enjoy a prominent place in the library of all serious students of western culture.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Hicks, Ph.D. on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This encyclopedia is outstanding in all respects: comprehensive range of coverage, highly-competent content and editing, and beautifully produced. It will be useful to scholars and general audiences alike.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?