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The Enlightenment is that crucial, and profoundly exciting, period between the late seventeenth century and the French Revolution. It was the great age of rationalism and tolerance, an age of boundless curiosity about the physical universe and the nature of the human mind, an age that rejected superstition in favor of observation and experiment to arrive at the truth--an age, in fact, that laid the foundations for the world in which we live.
With nearly four hundred illustrations selected from a wide array of sources, the book tells the fascinating story of the men and women of the Enlightenment in their search for definition and redefinition of the values of their time. Included are the range of ideas they explored--from coffee-house conversations to astronomy, from voyages of discovery to the investigation of dreams, from the first dictionaries and encyclopedias to new attitudes on marriage and women's rights. Theirs was an enthralling journey that reflected the intellectual revolution that transformed human consciousness.