Lecture | Caroline Winterer, Was There an American Enlightenment?

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on March 21, 2019

Thomas Rowlandson, after George Moutard Woodward, John Bull Making Observations on the Comet (detail), hand-colored etching, published by Thomas Tegg, 10 November 1807 (Farmington: Lewis Walpole Library). More information is available here.

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From the Lewis Walpole Library:

Caroline Winterer, Was There an American Enlightenment?
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 4 April 2019

The 24th Lewis Walpole Library Lecture will be delivered by Caroline Winterer, Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities and Director, Stanford Humanities Center, on Thursday, April 4, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Yale Center for British Art Lecture Hall.

The American Enlightenment is often viewed as a singular era bursting with new ideas as the U.S. sought to assert itself in a new republic free of the British monarchy. In this talk, Stanford historian Caroline Winterer shows how the myth and romanticization of an American Enlightenment was invented during the Cold War to calm fears of totalitarianism overseas. She’ll then look behind the 20th-century mythology, rescuing a ‘real’ eighteenth-century American Enlightenment that is far different than the one we usually imagine.

Caroline Winterer is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. She is an American historian, with special expertise in American thought and culture. Her most recent book is American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016). Winterer’s other books include The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750–1900 (2007) and The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780–1910 (2002).

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