Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness: Moral Discourse and Cultural Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century England
The third Earl of Shaftesbury was a pivotal figure in eighteenth-century thought and culture. Professor Klein's study is the first to examine the extensive Shaftesbury manuscripts and offer an interpretation of his diverse writings as an attempt to comprehend contemporary society and politics and, in particular, to offer a legitimation for the new Whig political order established after 1688. As the focus of Shaftesbury's thinking was the idea of politeness, this study involves the first serious examination of the importance of the idea of politeness in the eighteenth century for thinking about society and culture and organising cultural practices. Through politeness, Shaftesbury conceptualised a new kind of public and critical culture for Britain and Europe, and greatly influenced the philosophical and cultural models associated with the European Enlightenment.
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