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Swiss Enlightenment Collection
Taken as a whole, this important collection reveals to us the Swiss sectors of a tremendous international network of scholars, literary figures, and scientists during the era of the European Enlightenment. The writers included in this collection ranged over the entire world of learning—esthetic, scientific, philosophical, theological, philological, literary, historical, and legal.
The European Enlightenment, stretching from the late 17th through the early 19th centuries, was marked by a turning away from absolutism and institutional rigidity toward new ideals of rationalism and political liberty. Great minds of the period, such as Kant, Rousseau, Locke, Voltaire and Montesquieu, ushered in an “Age of Reason,” forever changing the philosophical and political landscape of Europe and North America. The Swiss Enlightenment collection contains more than 1,000 printed and pictorial items in over 1,500 volumes. It focuses on literary, philosophical and historical texts from the German-speaking regions of Europe, many of which were published in Zürich, one of the great European cultural centers during this period. This acquisition places Berkeley's holdings for early modern and enlightenment studies in the first rank of research libraries worldwide.