What was the Enlightenment? Was it a unified body of thought generated by an established canon of 'great thinkers', or were there many areas of contradiction and divergence? How far-reaching were its critiques intended to be? Was it a revolutionary body of thought, or was it merely a catalyst for the revolutionary age which followed it? Did it mean the same for men and for women, for rich and poor, or for European and non-European? In this important new textbook Dorinda Outram addresses these, and other, questions about the 'Enlightenment'. She sets the major debates of the period against the broader social changes such as the onset of industrialisation in Western Europe, the establishment of new colonial empires, and the exploration of hitherto unmapped portions of the world's surface. This unique and accessible synthesis of scholarship will be invaluable to any student of eighteenth-century history.