In the spirit of Starobinski's L'invention de la liberté, 1700-1789, essays in this edited volume consider the invention of "catastrophe" in the eighteenth century, i.e. the idea of catastrophe as a natural event and an aesthetic object was born in the eighteenth century. Articles explore the writings of Montesquieu, Rousseau, Sade, among others, and explore various contemporary upheavals, from earthquakes, to epidemics, to revolution. The text is divided into four parts that cover thoughts on catastrophe; disaster in media and information; the problem of testimony, which deals with sources and questions that ask how and why a “victim community” writes about disaster; and catastrophe as a subject in the arts.
Genève: Librairie Droz, 2008.
Mercier, Anne-Marie & Chantal Thomas, eds., “L’invention de la catastrophe au xviiie siècle: du châtiment au désastre naturel,” Legacies of the Enlightenment, accessed October 1, 2023, http://enlightenmentlegacies.org/items/show/19.