Catherine the Great Lecture Series #2: Professor Kenneth Bartlett
This lecture traces Catherine’s interest in the ideas of the French Enlightenment philosophes. Through her correspondence with Voltaire, her support of Diderot and d’Alembert, and her flirtation with rationalist ideals, Catherine established a reputation as an exemplary ruler in the Age of Reason. However, the events of the French Revolution would challenge these convictions and reveal the contradictions in the practice of enlightened despotism. Dr Kenneth Bartlett is Professor of History and Renaissance Studies Victoria College University of Toronto.