The Lost Art

Cartesian Women: Versions and Subversions of Rational Discourse in the Old Regime

by Erica Harth

Watteau's Painted Conversations: Art, Literature, and Talk in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century France

by Mary Vidal
In his Discours de la méthode (1637) Descartes said that he chose to write in French rather than in Latin in order to reach “those who employ nothing but their pure natural reason.” We are justified in supposing that among such readers the philosopher included women, since they were not …

Conqueror of Paris

A Woman, a Man, and Two Kingdoms: The Story of Madame d'Epinay and the Abbæ Galiani

by Francis Steegmuller

Ferdinando Galiani, Louise d'Epinay Correspondance Vol. I (1769–1770)

by (The Correspondance will comprise five volumes to appear annually.), edited by Georges Dulac and Daniel Maggetti
In 1766 the Paris of the Enlightenment welcomed the Milanese political philosopher Cesare Beccaria with both reverence and curiosity. All the philosophes were anxious to meet the author of Of Crimes and Punishments (1764), his celebrated treatise on judicial law that condemned torture and the death penalty. All the same, …

Why Read the Classics?

A classic does not necessarily teach us anything we did not know before. In a classic we sometimes discover something we have always known (or thought we knew), but without knowing that this author said it first, or at least is associated with it in a special way. And this, too, is a surprise that gives a lot of pleasure, such as we always gain from the discovery of an origin, a relationship, an affinity. From all this we may derive a definition of this type: The classics are books that we find all the more new, fresh, and unexpected upon reading, the more we thought we knew them from hearing them talked about.