Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment

Inventing Eastern Europe The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment This is a wide ranging intellectual history of how in the th century Europe came to be conceived as divided into Western Europe and Eastern Europe The author argues that this conceptual reorientat

  • Title: Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment
  • Author: Larry Wolff
  • ISBN: 9780804727020
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Paperback
  • This is a wide ranging intellectual history of how, in the 18th century, Europe came to be conceived as divided into Western Europe and Eastern Europe The author argues that this conceptual reorientation from the previously accepted Northern and Southern was a work of cultural construction and intellectual artifice created by the philosophes of the Enlightenment.This is a wide ranging intellectual history of how, in the 18th century, Europe came to be conceived as divided into Western Europe and Eastern Europe The author argues that this conceptual reorientation from the previously accepted Northern and Southern was a work of cultural construction and intellectual artifice created by the philosophes of the Enlightenment He shows how the philosophers viewed the continent from the perspective of Paris and deliberately cultivated an idea of the backwardness of Eastern Europe the readily to affirm the importance of Western Europe.

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      113 Larry Wolff
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      Posted by:Larry Wolff
      Published :2018-06-21T02:42:42+00:00

    1 thought on “Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment”

    1. WELL THAT BLEW ME AWAY. This is an amazing work. In a nutshell, it challenges everything we think we know about Eastern Europe--challenges the very idea of there BEING an Eastern Europe, actually. It goes back to the Enlightenment to explore the ways in which Westerner writers, travelers, and intellectuals used the concept of "the East of Europe" as something to define their own culture against . . . in a "~we~ are civilized and ~they~ are barbarians" type fashion. (I'm not making up the word "b [...]

    2. Building on Edward Saids analysis of orientalism, Larry Wolff applies the concept to the way Western European scholars and travelers talk(ed) about Eastern Europe.As issues of slavophobia don't get a lot of attention in the way modern dialogues about xenophobia/racism are framed, I feel like this book really complements Saids ideas on orientalism in the way that it complicates it.As with 'Orientalism', if you don't want to invest too much time in the book, it's absolutely sufficient to just read [...]

    3. The most valuable thing in the book is the evidences of Western Europe attitude to the Eastern Europe at the Enlightenment age. Quotes from the ambassadors reports, travelers notes, philosophers essays, political and private correspondence, novels and poems make the bigger part of the book. So even if to omit author's comments on the topic the picture is quite impressive.Author claims that it's Enlightenment philosophers who 'invented' the notion of Western and Eastern Europe. But most probably [...]

    4. Definitely a tough read even if you know lots about modern Eastern Europe. By the time you get to the chapter on Voltaire, the picture is already clear and a bit repetitive. Eastern Europe was backward and largely unknown, the people barbarian and uncivilised, yet not exotic as 'the orient'. This conveniently helped to define western Europe as 'civilisation as we know it'. Some similarities with the criticisms of The west made by Edward Said. However some good stories and the intrepid women trav [...]

    5. Tough read for someone with relatively little background in Eastern European history, but full of interesting stories and makes you want to know more. Wolff is clear with his thesis is showing how the concept of "eastern: Europe is a product of the Enlightenment and also how the geography of the Enlightenment reshaped Europe on W/E boundaries as opposed to N/S. Would like to reread someday.

    6. Exhaustive and fascinating. Wolff traces the development of the notion of Eastern Europe, focusing primarily on the Enlightenment (especially Voltaire and Rousseau) but carrying his analysis briefly into the 20th century as well. Quite compelling.

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