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What Happened to Civility


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Table of Contents

1. The New Adam: The Philosopher’s Sleight-of-Hand
2. The New Order: Hidden Mastery
3. Authenticity: The Greatest Thing in the World
4. Civility: Suppressing the Human Self
5. The Deterioration of Civility: When Everything Becomes Political
6. Living among the Ruins: The Disintegration of the Social Bond

About the Author

Ann Hartle is professor emeritus of philosophy at Emory University. She is the author of numerous books, including Montaigne and the Origins of Modern Philosophy and Michel de Montaigne: Accidental Philosopher.


“The insistent point of What Happened to Civility—that civility is collapsing as enlightenment ideology’s relentless advance swamps the premodern, traditional sources of nobility and mercy that Montaigne relied upon to create civility in the first place—is new, true, and significant.” —Benjamin Storey, co-author of Why We Are Restless

“No other book-length treatment of Montaigne’s notion of civility exists. Hartle succeeds admirably well in showing that Montaigne’s conception of civility helped to shape modern self-understanding in significant ways.” —John C. McCarthy, editor of Modern Enlightenment and the Rule of Reason

"Time spent with this book will be rewarded, both with a heightened sense of the importance of civility to human happiness and wonder for the artistry of a great essayist like Montaigne." —The American Conservative

"The book is a good contribution to a troubling debate, and one with which Montaigne himself would have been pleased." —Church Times

“Ann Hartle analyzes the reasons for the contemporary decay of civility, which was given its modern formulation 'out of the fragments of the shattered classical-Christian tradition' in Montaigne’s Essays. She goes on to consider 'what has been lost in the movement from sacred tradition as the social bond' to its secular form, notably a 'public standard of moral virtue.'" —Choice

Ann Hartle’s What Happened to Civility offers an inviting proposition: civility should be understood as a human invention and therefore is ultimately doomed to failure. —Perspectives on Politics

"Hartle’s focus on civility as the key to understanding Montaigne’s contribution to modernity is original." —Review of Politics

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