Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment / Edition 1

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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 more readily to affirm the importance of "Western Europe".
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Thought-provoking and well written, . . . Wolff's book provides a valuable treatment of the ways in which 'Enlightened' thinkers conceive of the lands east of the Elbe. . . . A very welcome contribution to both the history of the Enlightenment and the Western understanding of Eastern Europe." —The Russian Review

"The distinction between East and West Europe is a seemingly immemorial cliché that desperately needs dismantling, and Wolff does it with erudition and a lively dramatic sense."—Voice Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804727020
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 436
  • Sales rank: 1,248,934
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Entering Eastern Europe: Eighteenth-Century Travelers on the Frontier 17
2 Possessing Eastern Europe: Sexuality, Slavery, and Corporal Punishment 50
3 Imagining Eastern Europe: Fiction, Fantasy, and Vicarious Voyages 89
4 Mapping Eastern Europe: Political Geography and Cultural Cartography 144
5 Addressing Eastern Europe, Part I: Voltaire's Russia 195
6 Addressing Eastern Europe, Part II: Rousseau's Poland 235
7 Peopling Eastern Europe, Part I: Barbarians in Ancient History and Modern Anthropology 284
8 Peopling Eastern Europe, Part II: The Evidence of Manners and the Measurements of Race 332
Conclusion 356
Notes 377
Index 407
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