Books: The Age of Reason

THE PROFANE VIRTUES—Peter Quennell —Viking Press ($3).

Though the intellectuals of 18th Century England mapped out an Age of Reason, God did not altogether concur in their plan. He continued to turn out many odd and upsetting creatures—parsons who were hanged, poets who went mad, lords who started riots, scholars who drank ink, dukes who lost ancestral estates on a throw of the dice. Or, if a man of reason appeared, he might be almost too rational : Admiral Byng, on the morning of his execution, blandly "took his usual draught for the scurvy."

Author Quennell, who graphically explored the Age of Reason...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!