Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Reading the French Enlightenment
System and Subversion


Part of Cambridge Studies in French

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521030960

£ 27.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • In this 1999 book, Julie Candler Hayes offers an ambitious reinterpretation of a crucial aspect of Enlightenment thought, the rationalizing and classifying impulse. Taking issue both with traditional liberal and contemporary critical accounts of the Enlightenment, she analyses the writings of Denis Diderot, Emilie Du Châtelet, the Abbé de Condillac, Buffon, d'Alembert and numerous others, to argue for a new understanding of 'systematic reason' as complex, paradoxical and ultimately liberating. Hayes examines the tensions between freedom and constraint, abstraction and materialism, linear and synoptic order, that pervade not only philosophic and scientific discourse, but also epistolary writing, fiction and criticism. Drawing on the insights of a wide range of theorists from Adorno, Habermas and Foucault to Deleuze and Derrida, she offers a dialogue between the eighteenth century and our own, an ongoing exploration of the question, 'what is Enlightenment?'.

    • Challenging revisionist view of a major aspect of Enlightenment writing and thought
    • Exciting insights into the work of a range of eighteenth-century writers and thinkers, most notably Diderot
    • Extensive and very useful bibliography, including both rare seventeenth- and eighteenth-century sources, and a thorough survey of twentieth-century scholarship on this very broad topic
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521030960
    • length: 260 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.398kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Author's note
    Prologue: despotic Enlightenment
    Introduction: the critique of systematic reason
    1. 'Système': origins and itineraries
    2. The epistolary machine
    3. Physics and figuration in Du Châtelet's Institutions de physique
    4. Condillac and the identity of the other
    5. Diderot: changing the system
    Conclusion: labyrinths of Enlightenment

  • Author

    Julie Candler Hayes, University of Richmond, Virginia

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.