02 November, 2009

Virtual Exhibitions of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France

I recently stumbled the Virtual Exhibitions page of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (BNF to its friends), which conveniently has an English translation button.

The site a) looks fab and b) has plenty of interesting content.

Enlightenment ("Lumieres") charts "the passage from obscuranticism to free thought and free actions, illuminated by reason" from the mid-C18th onwards . The presentation is grouped around the themes of religion, science, the individual, public space, the political order, universality, and heritage.

There are plenty of pertinent quotes, and I like this one from Voltaire (picture above):

"If England had only one religion, despotism would have to be feared; if she had two, they would cut each other's throats, but since there are thirty, the English live in peace with one another." (1734)

Also to enjoy are beautifully presented expositions on Medieval Bestiary and Medieval Gastronomy.


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