The Secular Enlightenment

A major history of how the Enlightenment transformed people's everyday lives


Published (US):
Apr 20, 2021
Published (UK):
May 11, 2021
5.5 x 8.5 in.
13 b/w illus.
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The Secular Enlightenment is a panoramic account of the radical ways life began to change for ordinary people in the age of Locke, Voltaire, and Rousseau. In this landmark book, familiar Enlightenment figures share places with voices that have remained largely unheard until now, from freethinkers and freemasons to French materialists, anticlerical Catholics, pantheists, pornographers, and travelers. Margaret Jacob takes readers from London and Amsterdam to Berlin, Vienna, Turin, and Naples, drawing on rare archival materials to show how ideas central to the emergence of secular democracy touched all facets of daily life. A majestic work of intellectual and cultural history, The Secular Enlightenment demonstrates how secular values and pursuits took hold of eighteenth-century Europe, spilled into the American colonies, and left their lasting imprint on the Western world for generations to come.

Awards and Recognition

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year