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The Shadow of Enlightenment – Optical and Political Transparency in France 1789-1848 - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Shadow of Enlightenment: Optical and Political Transparency in France 1789-1848

Theresa Levitt


This work places revolutionary advances in light and optics in the cultural context of France in the first half of the 19th century. The narrative follows the work and careers of France's two chief rivals on the subject of light: Arago and Biot. Their disagreement began on the subject of technical optics, but expanded to include politics, religion, agricultural policy, education, dinner companions, housing arrangements, photography, railroads, vital forces, astrology, the Egyptian calendar, and colonial slavery. At the heart of their disagreement was always a question of visibility, and the ex ... More

Keywords: Arago, Biot, polarization, polarimeter, optics, light, visibility, transparency

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780199544707
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199544707.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Theresa Levitt, author
Department of the History, University of Mississippi