“Men bolder than these had overthrown and rearranged—not actually, but within the sphere of theory, which was their most real abode—the whole system of ancient prejudice, wherewith was linked much of ancient principle. Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatized by the scarlet letter.”
Enlightenment thinking lead to Deism, a new religious philosophy
Deists believed in God as a great inventor or architect who had created the universe and then allowed it to function without divine intervention.
Was mostly nonfiction—fact based rather than imaginative
Political, social & philosophical concerns were expressed in writing
Information became more available—Newspapers were popular
Often symbolize the passing from one state to another, the coming of age or passing through spiritual stages towards enlightenment, from the profane to the sacred. The threshold marks the meeting place of the natural and the supernatural. Being between places is nowhere, a quality shared by crossroads. It marks the boundary between what is known and what is unknown.
The Enlightenment made The Pendulum Swing!
Swing of the pendulum from God-centered life and concentration on the after-life to reason and the belief that man could know about his world
There was no real unity of ideas, but there was a tremendous intellectual energy and enthusiasm generated.