The French Revolution let the evil genies of the Enlightenment out of the bottle: the cult of equality, the destruction of tradition, the deliberate cultivation of every form of vice. Worst of all was the war against Christianity, a promethean attempt to restructure all society on the purely rational principles put forward by third-rate philosophers.
The challenge of the villains—Voltaire, Rousseau, Robespierre—was met by brave men: novelists and poets, such as Walter Scott, Chateaubriand, and (eventually) William Wordsworth; political theorists and philosophers, such as Joseph de Maistre and Arthur Schopenhauer; religious visionaries, such as John Keble and John Henry Newman. All were brilliant writers—so brilliant that their books had to be read, even by their enemies.
It was an age that rediscovered the Christian Faith and the glories of the Middle Ages, an age when men and women realized that landscape and tradition meant more than progress and profits.