Browsing: Age of Enlightenment

July-August 2019

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SUSAN S. LANSER, professor emerita of English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Comparative Literature at Brandeis University, is a specialist in 18th-century European literature, with a focus on women writers and issues related to gender and sexuality.

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THIS YEAR marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of Cyrano de Bergerac, but not the one you have in mind. Edmond Rostand’s hit play of 1897 invented an ultra-Romantic Cyrano, a magniloquent swashbuckler with a promontory of a nose. Hopelessly in love with his cousin Roxane, he sacrifices himself so she may wed the man she loves, ghost-writing his rival’s amorous declarations. This Cyrano—master duelist, improvisatory poet, independent spirit—has entered the popular imagination and spawned scores of imitations.

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Commented Richard Schneider: “Alistair was a wonderful writer and an amazingly quick study when breaking into a new field or genre. His interests ranged far and wide, and he soon branched off from workplace issues to LGBT rights, popular culture, history and biography, gay erotica, and so on.”

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The religious Right has tacitly acknowledged the problem it has with the shrinking number of believers in the U.S. That’s why its leading evangelists are looking overseas for more fertile venues to peddle their hate.

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THE THEME COLOR for this issue is gold, as befits the Age of Enlightenment, which is, after all, our civilization’s Golden Age, our answer to 5th-century Athens.

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