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Great Expectations: Futurity in the Long Eighteenth Century


Edited By Mascha Hansen and Jürgen Klein

What did eighteenth-century men and women think about when they contemplated the future? What was hidden in the «dark bosom of futurity», as Richardson’s Pamela calls it? Do all types of literature that supply a critique of the present conjure up an idealized past or a vision of a better future? Predictions and prophecies – not only astrological but also political ones, utopian models, theological concepts like predestination, progress in the sciences, and, last but not least, life-after-death, both in the form of secular fame and the immortal soul, are among the topics addressed by the essays collected in this volume.


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First and foremost we would like to thank the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung for their generous financial support of both the initial confer- ence (“Great Expectations: Futurity in the Long Eighteenth Century,” 10-12 February 2011) and the publication of this volume, as well as the German Re- search Foundation (DFG) for their equally generous co-funding of the confer- ence. We are particularly grateful to Dr Christian Suhm from the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald for his invaluable assistance and advice during the first stages of planning and organising the conference. Thanks are also due to several people who kindly helped with the realisa- tion of both the conference and the publication of the conference proceedings: to Serge Soupel and Hermann J. Real for their suggestions concerning the topic, to Marlene Sülberg and Siri Hummel from the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald for their involvement in preparing the conference, to Ms Kottwitz for her design of the lovely conference poster, and to our Hilfskraft Ulrike Schöttler, who assisted with the running of the conference as well as with the initial for- matting and proof-reading of various essays, and, last but not least, to Dr James Fanning for both his general advice and his meticulous proof-reading of selected essays. Thank you!

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