|About the Book|
Based on the premise that the modern discourse of enlightenment and its self-critique began in the eighteenth century, Impure Reason provides a fresh look at the controversy through cultural, social, and political history, confronting the oftenMoreBased on the premise that the modern discourse of enlightenment and its self-critique began in the eighteenth century, Impure Reason provides a fresh look at the controversy through cultural, social, and political history, confronting the often abstract theories of a dialectics of enlightenment with concrete historical studies of the Age of Enlightenment. This volume brings together current research on the German Enlightenment in order to familiarize an American audience with the period that gave rise to Lessing, Kant, and Goethe - as well as to other important figures who are practically unknown outside of German studies. Leading scholars on eighteenth-century German society, politics, literature, and culture bring a uniquely American perspective to the project, with critiques that generally have not been voiced in Germany. Their essays, which represent a wide range of attitudes toward enlightenment, cover topics as varied as the debate on colonialism- the difficulties of diversity- the use and abuse of reading male sexuality in enlightenment self-critique- medicine, patriarchy, and heterosexuality- art and social discipline- disturbed mourning and the Enlightenments flight from the body- and women possessed by the devil. Modern critics and defenders of enlightenment who are discussed in the essays include Horkheimer and Adorno (who are themselves subjected to a gender-based critique). Jurgen Habermas, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Manfred Frank, Richard Rorty, and Christa Wolf. Impure Reason will interest scholars in German studies, gender studies, history, philosophy, psychology, pedagogy, and other fields. The volume will also help introduce scholars and other interested readers outside the area of German studies to the particularly German tradition of Enlightenment critique and its status today.