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Empire, Fall, and Future: masterpiece, The Age of Louis XIV: "It is not Louis XIV that we propose to write; we have a wider s view. We shall endeavor to depict for posterity, n of a single man, but the spirit of men in the most enliy age the world has ever seen."" In seeking to describe thhe ity of past human experience," Voltaire initiated the m merely the talian comic opera to new heights with The Marriage of Figaro, based on a Parisian play of the 1780s in which a valet outwits and outsings his noble employers, and Don Giovanni, a "black comedy" about the havoc Don Giovanni wrought on earth before he descended into hell. The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, and Don Giovanni are three of the world's greatest operas Mozart composed with an ease of melody and a blend of grace, precision, and emotion that arguably no one has ever excelled. Haydn remarked to Mozart's father that "your son is the great est composer known to me either in person or by reputation." not the The weaknesses of these philosophe historians stem from their preoccupations as philosophes. Following the als of the classics that dominated their minds, the philo Sought to instruct as well as entertain. Their goal w civilize their age, and history could play a role by t its lessons according to their vision. Their emphasis ence and reason and their dislike of Christianity made less than sympathetic to the period we call the Middle This is particularly noticeable in the other great masterpe eighteenth-century historiography, the six-volume De and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (7- Although Gibbon thought that the decline of Rome had n causes, he portrayed the growth of Christianity reason for Rome's eventual collapse. Like some of the p sophes, Gibbon believed in the idea of progress and, in rell ing on the decline and fall of Rome, expressed his optim about the future of European civilization and the abliny ideal of social history Was to THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NOVEL The eighteenth century was also decisive in the development of the novel. The novel was not a completely new literary genre but grew out of the medieval romances and the picaresque stories of the sixteenth century. The English are credited with establishing the modern novel as the chief vehicle for fiction writing. With no estab- lished rules, the novel was open to much experimentation. It also proved especially attractive to women readers and women revea DT he a5 a m Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) was a printer by trade and did not turn to writing until his fifties. His first novel, Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded, focused on a servant girl's resistance to numer- ous seduction attempts by her master. Finally, by reading the girl's letters describing her feelings about his efforts, the master realizes that she has a good mind as well as an attractive body and marries her. Virtue is rewarded. Pamela won Richardson a writers. Europeans to avoid the fate of the Romans. A London Coffee spread throughout patrons of coffeeho engage in business make bids on com The High Culture of the Eighteenth Century large audience as he appealed to the growing cult of sensibility in the eighteenth century-the taste for the sentimental and emotional. Samuel Johnson, another great English writer of the century and an even greater wit, remarked, "If you were to read Richardson for the story.. . you would hang yourself. But you must read him for the sentiment." Reacting against the moral seriousness of Richardson, Henry Fielding (1707-1754) wrote novels about people with- out scruples who survived by their wits. His best work was The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, a lengthy novel about the numerous adventures of a young scoundrel. Fielding presented scenes of English life from the hovels of London to the country houses of the aristocracy. In a number of hilarious episodes, he described characters akin to real types in English society. Although he emphasized action rather than inner feeling, Field- ing did his own moralizing by attacking the hypocrisy of his age. Historians and cultural anthropologists have grown acc tomed to distinguishing between a civilization's high cultu and its popular culture. Whereas high culture usually refe Its goal was "to ies, schools and tea-tables and c intellectual goa instruct and en to the literary and artistic world of the educated and wealth ruling classes, popular culture refers to the written and unwn ten lore of the masses, most of which is passed down orally the eighteenth century, European high culture consisted of learned world of theologians, scientists, philosophers, intelle tuals, poets, and dramatists, for whom Latin remained a rm international language. Their work was supported by a wealth and literate lay group, the most important of whom were the landed aristocracy and the wealthier upper classes in the cites Especially noticeable in the eighteenth century was expansion of both the reading public and publishing One study revealed that French publishers were issuing about su teen hundred titles yearly in the 1780s, up from three hundn titles in 1750. Though many of these titles were still aimed a small ily, marriage, an to women. Som at women, suc also edited by by female writ Along with printed in Lor lish towns had cial features, t THE WRITING OF HISTORY The philosophes were respon- sible for creating a revolution in the writing of history. Their secular orientation caused them to eliminate the role of God in coffeehouse the atmosphe of the educated elite, many were also directed o groups the new reading public of the middle classes, which include women and even urban artisans. The growth of publishing houses made it possible for authors to make money from the works and be less dependent on wealthy patrons. An important aspect of the growth of publishing and readi in the eighteenth century was the development of mag for the general public. Great Britain, an important cen the new magazines, saw 25 periodicals published in 1700 1760, and 158 in 1780. Although short-lived, the best known w Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's Spectator, begun in in history and freed them to concentrate on events themselves and search for causal relationships in the natural world. Earlier, the humanist historians of the Renaissance had also placed their histories in purely secular settings, but not with the same intensity and complete removal of God. The philosophe-historians also broadened the scope of history from the humanists' preoccupation with politics. Politics still predominated in the work of Enlightenment his- torians, but they also paid attention to economic, social, intel- lectual, and cultural developments. As Voltaire exlained in his The fine Ge leaving his or Chocola for tis a So least, to He News, reac opening th they were the Coffee no hearing CHAPTER 17 The Eighteenth Century: An Age of Enlightenment 516 res reddir reddit

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United, Britain, and United States: Hong Kong's new flag after it is handed over to the United States by Great Britain (1997)

Hong Kong's new flag after it is handed over to the United States by Great Britain (1997)

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