The Enlightenment Period

Counter-Enlightenment Figures

How important was Joseph-Marie de Maistre?

In his Freedom and Its Betrayal, philosopher and historian Isaiah Berlin (1909–1997) listed de Maistre as a major opponent to liberty in the Enlightenment. In the nineteenth century, French literary critic Émile Faguet (1847–1916) described de Maistre as “a fierce absolutist, a furious theocrat, an intransigent legitimist, apostle of a monstrous trinity composed of Pope, King and Hangman, always and everywhere the champion of the hardest, narrowest and most inflexible dogmatism, a dark figure out of the Middle Ages, part learned doctor, part inquisitor, part executioner.”


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