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p. 464. Nature and Its Possibilitieslocked

  • John D. Lyons


‘Nature and its possibilities’ explains how in the eighteenth century focus shifted away from society and its norms and on to the question of nature. The opposition between nature and culture took on a new vitality in the eighteenth century, and the uniformly dismissive view of nature began to change. Nature was at the core of most important questions, including those about birth, rank, and the ‘natural’ basis of civilization. The role of the philosophes and their didactic works is examined and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses is shown as valorizing nature over the social norms that alienate people from their deeper, hidden selves.

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