Seminar: The German Enlightenment in Philosophy and Literature. Ideas, Aporias, Legacy

Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study (SAS)/University of London (Senate House, Room 234, Malet Street, London)

4 February, 18 February, 3 March, 28 April, 26 May 2016

In the last decades, scholarship on the German Enlightenment has followed quite new paths. After moving away from the old narrative of a sterile, naïvely optimistic and rationalist movement, scholars rediscovered the German Enlightenment as intrinsically open-minded and, thus, as a crucial step toward contemporary culture. A key-feature of this new approach has to be seen in the dismissal of any dogmatic interpretative claim and in the consequent acknowledgment that the project of the Enlightenment itself is not free from shortcomings, which however do not diminish its values.

This seminar aims to explore this new territory from an interdisciplinary perspective: philosophical and literary texts by, among others, Kant, Schiller, and Hegel will be read and discussed, both in German original and in English translation. Suggestions on other eighteenth-, nineteenth- or twentieth-century texts, which might shed new light on the Enlightenment itself or its legacy, will also be welcome.

The seminar is primarily aimed at graduates in both German and Philosophy, but is open to all. Some colleagues from Oxford and outside Oxford have agreed to lead guest sessions of the seminar. MA and PhD students are also welcome to do so. Please RSVP to

See here for further information.

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