While on holiday, I have been reading Roy Porter’s Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World. It was one of his books which I failed to read when it came out. I’m sure there are many others as he published so much. Reading it makes me mourn his loss. He was a larger than life figure, product of the school of Jack Plumb (he’s generous about Jack in the book). There’s no aspect of the eighteenth century that he doesn’t know about as he swoops from John Locke to Grub Street. He makes the eighteenth century sound unexpectedly like the 1960s: ‘the Enlightenment should be viewed not as a canon of classics but as a living language, a revolution in mood, a blaze of slogans, delivering the shock of the new’ (p.3) and ‘Acquisitiveness, pleasure-seeking, emotional and erotic self-discovery, social climbing and the joys of fashion slipped the moral and religious straitjackets of guilt, sin and retribution’ (p.17). It’s a great book.