The Age of Reason Begins: A History of European Civilization in the Period of Shakespeare, Bacon, Montaigne, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Descartes: 1558-1648

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Simon and Schuster, 1961 - History - 729 pages
3 Reviews
If there is a linchpin to understanding modern European history, it lies in the period of religious strife & scientific progress between the 1550s & 1650s. In The Age of Reason Begins, Will & Ariel Durant bring together a fascinating network of stories in their discussion of the bumpy road toward the Enlightenment. This is the age of great monarchs & greater artists: on the one hand, Elizabeth the First of England, Philip II of Spain & Henry IV of France; on the other, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Montaigne & Rembrandt. It also encompasses the heyday of Bacon, Galileo, Giordano Bruno & Descartes--the fathers of modern science & philosophy. But it is equally an age of extreme violence, a moment in which all Europe was embroiled in the horrible Thirty Years' War--in some respects, the real First World War. Whatever the case, this is a chapter in cultural history one can't set aside. "Mr & Mrs Durant are admirably lucid...This is a book that can be commended very warmly."--The New York Times.
 

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User Review  - DLMorrese - LibraryThing

This is one of the most interesting books of history I've read. It covers a period between 1558 and 1648, a time of real and important change in how people saw the world. Rather than simply providing ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JVioland - LibraryThing

This review applies to all Durant's History of Civilization. The author does not follow a strictly chronological approach, but emphasizes those events/personages that have developed our Western ... Read full review

Contents

15581603
3
15641616
87
i 54287
110
15671625
131
James VI of Scotland 131 v Ben Jonson
146
n James I of England 136 vi John Donne
152
The Summons
162
Reason
180
The Flemings 462 vi Dutch Life and Letters
479
Vandyck 473 ix Rembrandt Harmensz
487
The Rise of
495
in Poland Goes to Canossa
506
15661648
518
Lepanto 522 1 v Shah Abbas the Great
527
15641648
538
hi Morals and Manners
544

The Changing Economy 184 vi Charles I versus Parliament
200
15641648
225
Bologna
232
155974
333
15531610
356
15851642
374
15591643
393
Morals 393 4 The Philosopher
405
i5551660
462
The Hostile Creeds
551
15581648
575
hi The Tools and Methods
584
Science and Health
592
i 5641648
613
in Vanini and Campanella
624
Bibliographical Guide
649
Index
683
Copyright

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About the author (1961)

Will Durant was born in North Adams, Massachusetts on November 5, 1885. He received an undergraduate degree at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. His first book, Philosophy and the Social Problem, was published in 1917. His other works include The Story of Philosophy, The Mansions of Philosophy, and the ten-volume The Story of Civilization. By the time the seventh volume was published in 1961, his wife Ariel Durant was listed as a coauthor for her diligent assistance on the project. In 1968 they received the Pulitzer Prize for Rousseau and Revolution. The husband and wife team also wrote A Dual Autobiography in 1977. He died on November 7, 1981.

American historian and essayist Will Durant was born in North Adams, Massachusetts. He earned his undergraduate degree at St. Peter's College in New Jersey and went on to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1917 from Columbia University. While teaching at the libertarian Ferrer Modern School in New York, he had as a pupil a young woman named Ada Kaufman, whom he later called Ariel. She became his wife and his coauthor. In 1917, Durant published his first work, his doctoral dissertation, Philosophy and the Social Problem . In 1926 he published another work, The Story of Philosophy. The following year, he began writing the comprehensive history of civilization on which he was to spend much of the next 30 years of his life, the massive Story of Civilization. By the time the seventh volume was published in 1961, Ariel Durant's diligent assistance on the project had earned her title-page recognition as co-author. The Durants made several world tours to visit the countries they treated in their history and received countless honorary degrees. In 1968 they received the Pulitzer Prize for Rousseau and Revolution, the tenth and final volume of their story. Explaining why they stopped at this point in history, they wrote, "We find ourselves exhausted on reaching the French Revolution. We know that this event did not end history, but it ends us.

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