Che cosa è stato l’Illuminismo: rivoluzione della mente o rivoluzione culturale dell’Antico Regime?

Vincenzo Ferrone


After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, international studies in historiography gave way to a strong process of critical reassessment. In the same way, the historiography of Enlightenment is currently undergoing a rapid and decisive transformation similar to that which occurred in the West after World War II. The Anglo-Saxon world is certainly at the forefront of this process and even, it seems, guides its destiny: especially the US, where the monumental works of Jonathan Israel provide an example worthy of attention. This paper, nonetheless, aims to discuss Israel’s research hypotheses, reductively founded on the primacy of the history of philosophy and on the idea of a so-called Radical Enlightenment dominated by the thought and ideas of Spinoza, in contrast with thirty years of research on the history of culture conducted by major scholars in every part of the world, and in Italy in particular. A history of culture that has long been able to innovate and produce research hypotheses open to the future: from human rights to cultural practices, from constitutionalism to the relationship between art and politics as recognised by the nascent public opinion.


Anglo-Saxon Historiography; Italian Historiography; Enlightenment; History of culture; Radical Enlightenment

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