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Catherine the Great and the French Philosophers of the Enlightenment: Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and Grimm

Author: 
Gorbatov, Inna
Credentials: 
Ph.D., CUNY

This research monograph is the result of many years of archival investigation in Russia, France and elsewhere into the nature of Catherine the Great’s involvement with the French Enlightenment. Professor Gorbatov’s conclusions go far beyond the consensus of philosophic and cultural interests masking an authoritarian and, at times, barbarous emerging European power and delves instead into Catherine’s fascination with French political and social ideals. Catherine’s thirty-four year reign was marked by a furious wholesale consumption of French arts and objets as well as a lavish patronage of French artists and philosophers. Even Rousseau, the self proclaimed “enemy of monarchs”, was seriously studied (though detested) and debated by Catherine and her circle as the Czarina attempted to reform the educational system. It is this theme of reform and renewal, along with Europeanization, that provides the great impetus of interest and patronage towards the philosophes and their ideas. Professor Gorbatov also shows the effect of Catherine’s interest on the higher aristocracy, writers, and emergent professional classes that was to reach a intellectual and political crisis upon the outbreak of the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon and her grandson’s battles with the Decembrists.

Market: 
Russian Intellectual History, French Philosophy 18thc, French Studies, Cultural History 18th c., History of Philosophy
Release Date: 
04/2006
ISBN: 
Cloth: 1-933146-03-6
Price: 
$74.95
Trim Size: 
6 x 9
Pages: 
264
Index: 
Yes
Bibliography: 
Yes
Illustrations: 
None
CIP: 
Yes
Publisher: 

ACADEMICA PRESS
1727 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 507
Washington, DC 20036

Irish Research Series: 
No