Coventry Premoderns Winter Lecture 2022/23: Dr Max Skjönsberg

ink and watercolour portraits of the 'Swedish School'
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Monday 20 February 2023

03:00 PM - 04:00 PM


Institute for Creative Cultures (ICC), Parkside, Coventry CV1 2NE or online

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Event details

Coventry Premoderns are pleased to invite you to our Winter Lecture presented by

 Dr Max Skjönsberg, University of Cambridge

'A Theory of the Enlightenment in Late Eighteenth-Century Sweden: Nils von Rosenstein and Scotland’s Science of Man and Politics'

Dr Skjönsberg’s presentation explores the impact of Enlightenment ideas in late eighteenth-century Sweden through the case study of the man of letters Nils von Rosenstein (1752-1824). It expands our knowledge of the impact of the Scottish Enlightenment abroad, the scholarship on which has been mainly focused on Germany, and thus revises our understanding of the Enlightenment in Sweden, which has usually been discussed with reference to French and German ideas. Moreover, one of Sweden’s leading historians of ideas, Tore Frängsmyr (1938-2017), even questioned whether the Enlightenment had any major impact in Sweden at all. Rosenstein’s "Försök til en afhandling om uplysningen, til dess beskaffenhet, nytta och nödvändighet för samhället" ( Attempt at a Dissertation on the Enlightenment, its Character, Usefulness and Necessity for Society ), published in 1793, is a notable text for understanding the character and nature of the Enlightenment in Sweden. It also presents a rare and unusually comprehensive theory of “the Enlightenment” from a contemporary of the period.

Dr Max Skjönsberg is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a College Research Associate at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His research is principally concerned with the history of political ideas and book history in the eighteenth century. He is the author of The Persistence of Party: Ideas of Harmonious Discord in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and the editor of Catharine Macaulay’s Political Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2023). 

Coventry Premoderns is a research cluster in the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities, dedicated to advancing critical and creative conversations between classical and early modern arts and literatures and twenty-first century theory and practice. Our research theme for 2022/23 is Borders.

Please note that this is a hybrid event. Attendance may be in person or online. 

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Image: Swedish School, 19th century. ‘Portraits of Notarien Jonsson, Nils v Rosenstein, Lesenan’, around 1820. Ink and watercolour.