This collection of essays by Bernard Vincent covers most aspects of Thomas Paine's life, thought, and works. It highlights Paine's contribution to the American and French Revolutions, as well as the active role he played in the intellectual debates of the Age of Enlightenment, in particular through his heated arguments with Edmund Burke or the Abbe Raynal. More than two centuries later, those debates-on the 'universal' nature of human rights or the 'exceptionalism' of the American experience-seem today to be more relevant than ever. Not only have Common Sense, Rights of Man and The Age of Reason become classics of Anglo-American literature, but, from the moment they appeared, they ushered in a new type of writer, a new way of writing-and a new class of readers. How Paine stormed the Bastille of Words, and in so doing served both the republic of letters and the cause of democracy, is the real subject of this book.