The Relationship between Language and Literature in Enlightenment Philosophy

The Relationship between Language and Literature in Enlightenment Philosophy

June 28, 2021 Off By Felso

The relationship of philosophy with language and literature, 18-19. It had a significant impact on the philosophy of the 19th century.

The creation of ideas and their transmission went beyond philosophy and gained new expression methods in art in general and in literature in particular. On the one hand, literature has expanded the field of thought and on the other hand, it has increased people’s interest in books.

In the 18th century, the number of printing houses increased rapidly and many publications began to appear in various parts of Europe. The important factors affecting this are the gradual growth of the bourgeois class and the fondness for language and literature as well as philosophy. In this period of history, a significant increase is observed in the number of publications. Philosophers and intellectuals produced not only philosophical products but also works from different fields. Among the mathematicians, lawyers and artists, there were also those who wrote in the field of language and literature along with philosophy.

The writings of this period consist of topics that are of general concern to the society. It is seen that intellectual debates in fields such as politics, art and philosophy are described in newspapers and magazines, and works on problems are also published in books. Concepts such as reason, experiment, progress, freedom, human rights, justice and equality are frequently used.

The philosophical works of this period are problem-centered and mind-oriented. It mostly appeals to the bourgeois class. Literary works, on the other hand, are important in that they touch on the feelings of the people, reveal the atmosphere of the period, and handle philosophical discussions on this line. Literary works have been the most important area that influenced the spread of philosophy among the people. Philosophers also wrote literary works. The influence of philosophy is also seen in the works of writers in the field of language and literature. The gradual proliferation of philosophical and literary works has increased the intellectual wealth and has been effective in the enlightenment of the people.

18-19. The relationship of the 19th century philosophy with language and literature is seen all over Europe, mainly in France. Philosophers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau  produced important philosophical works in France. In addition, they wrote articles together with thinkers such as d’Alembert and Diderot in the “Encyclopedia”, which is known as the most famous publication of the period, and they published this encyclopedia volume by volume. Written in a critical manner, these works are important in that they contain a lot of information acquired up to that time and are read by a wide audience. Some of these philosophers, in addition to their intellectual and critical publications, also produced works in literary genres containing plots. Voltaire’s “Candide” and Rousseau’s “Emile” are well-known examples of these. They are works of philosophical content in accordance with the spirit of the Enlightenment. Authors accelerated cultural interaction with their works; contributed to the enlightenment of the people and these efforts were effective in the formation of the French Revolution.

18-19. The disappearance of the aristocratic regime, especially with the effect of the French Revolution towards the end of the century, created a free environment that allowed the expression of emotions and thoughts in ideal forms in the intellectual field. This new situation has revealed the “romantic” movement in literature. Romance; It is a movement that appeals to all classes of society, in which emotion and enthusiasm are important and a simple language is used. Romanticism, pioneered by French thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau, swept all over Europe. However, in the 19th century. It also affected Turkish literature and the movement of thought. Representatives of this movement in Turkish literature are: Namık Kemal, Ahmet Mithat, Recaizade Mahmut Ekrem, Abdülhak Hamit and Ziya Pasha.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, MEB Philosophy Textbook