The Enlightenment between East and West. The case of Poland

Jerzy Snopek

Abstract


The essay above is a part of the book The Enlightenment between East and West. The Case of Poland, which is an attempt to show Polish Enlightenment in European context. It is based on a hypothesis that Enlightenment, which was deeply conscious of its European roots and character and treated Europism as a very important value, has had a decisive influence on the European model of modern culture and civilization. Enlightenment, however, in very different ways and degree formed national cultures in Europe, especially in Central-Europe. In the book special attention is paid to the analysis of Central-European Enlightenment which has always been almost entirely omitted in syntheses of European Enlightenment Culture. The author attempts to appraise the mechanisms of the development and functioning of the Enlightenment and also the achievements in the field of literature. Polish Enlightenment is the focus of the book, as the most characteristic and the richest and the most fully developed one in Central-Europe. Two other Central-European variants: the Hungarian and South-Slavonic form proper perspective for comparison. They are confronted not only with the Central-European model, but also with Western-European Enlightenment presented in the book through the prism of two models: the English and French model and also the German variant. Eastern-European Enlightenment – primarily Russian Enlightenment – also forms an important point of reference. Many pages of the book have been devoted to the analysis of the different national ways to Enlightenment, exposing the coherence between their structures and the specific character of European development, the paths of which forked in the beginning of modern history, at the end of the XV century.

Keywords


Enlightenment; culture; literature; Europe; Central Europe

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