Epicureanism across the French Revolution

  • Thomas M. Kavanagh
Part of the The New Antiquity book series (NANT)


Understanding how the Epicureanism so central to the French Enlightenment fared during and after the difficult days of the Revolution leads to one of the most intriguing chapters within the complex history of De Rerum Natura and its readers. Jean-Charles Darmon has shown how, by the early seventeenth century, “Epicurean” had become a preferred term for designating where one placed oneself and one’s enemies in the defining cultural conflicts of the early modern period.1 “Epicurean”—whether used to denigrate or to celebrate—became the powerful and protean banner of a philosophical ferment in relation to which everyone felt they must know well where they stood. At the same time, this intense concern with the “Epicurean” left, as it were, little place for what might more legitimately be called the “Lucretian”—a term that comes only reluctantly to modern lips.


French Revolution Civic Virtue Early Modern Period Shared Meal Thick Juice 
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© Thomas M. Kavanagh 2016

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  • Thomas M. Kavanagh

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