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Philosophy Medieval

Patrons of Enlightenment

by (author) Edward Andrew

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2006
Medieval, Criticism, Modern
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2006
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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2006
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All major writers of the Enlightenment enjoyed royal or aristocratic patronage, often denying their financial dependency and claiming to live by the labours of their pens or by the expanding readership of the eighteenth century, thereby maintaining the ideal of intellectual autonomy.

In Patrons of Enlightenment, Edward G. Andrew examines the conditions in which the central idea of Enlightenment was fabricated; intellectual autonomy was constructed while patronage was being transformed by a commercial print culture. Andrew further argues that since an Enlightenment depends on a relationship of plebeian genius and patrician taste, England could not have had one - as the French and Scots did - because after the English civil war, plebeians did not contribute to the intellectual culture of England.

Patrons of Enlightenment emphasizes the dependency of thinkers upon patrons and compares the patron-client relationships in the French, English, and Scottish republics of letters. Andrew challenges philosophers to rethink the Platonic distinction between philosophers and sophists and the Aristotelian view of philosophers as godlike in their self-sufficiency.

About the author

Edward G. Andrew is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

Edward Andrew's profile page

Other titles by Edward Andrew