This up-to-date introduction to the French Enlightenment corrects the view that the writers of the period were a mere stopover to modernity. It discusses current debates that A-level and first-year students need to know today. Voltaire agonised over the fact that his 'age of critique' followed Louis XIV's much more important 'age of genius'.Church religion was dispensed with, but not religion itself. Enlightenment was a fierce battle that lacked a predetermined outcome. The book covers key exam literature, in particular Voltaire, Diderot, d'Alembert, Rousseau, Montesquieu and also Rivarol, Sedaine, Palissot, theatre, gender issues, and feminism.