Sudhir Hazareesingh

Free Radicals

Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights 1750–1790


Oxford University Press 1066pp £30 order from our bookshop

One of the major works of the later Enlightenment was the Histoire philosophique des Deux Indes, edited by Guillaume-Thomas Raynal. First published in six volumes in 1770, it had gone through over forty French editions by 1788, ranking high on the chart of forbidden bestsellers. There were also over twenty English editions (including several in Ireland and the United States), two rival German versions, as well as translations into Danish, Italian, Spanish and Polish. ‘Raynal’, as the collection was commonly known, also found a significant readership among educated elites in India and the Dutch Indies, in the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,