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Night in French libertine fiction

In the age of Enlightenment the concept of night evolved from being a time of dread to a time for pleasure. Between the start of the Régence (1715-1723) and the French Revolution the nocturnal and the erotic became intrinsically connected: shadows and darkness were reconfigured as the object of the philosophes’ fascination, while night was increasingly experienced as the realm of the self. Nowhere is this paradigmatic shift better recorded than in French libertine literature of the long eighteenth century.

Rebuilding post-Revolutionary Italy

The rediscovery of the thought of Giambattista Vico (1668-1774) – especially his New science – is a post-Revolutionary phenomenon. Stressing the elements that keep society together by promoting a sense of belonging, Vico’s philosophy helped shape a new Italian identity and intellectual class. Poet and philosopher Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) responded perceptively to the spreading and manipulation of Vico’s ideas, but to what extent can he be considered Vico’s heir?

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