These essays explore the relationship between culture and politics in the modern world. They range in space from Iran to Algeria, and the eastern marchlands of Europe to the Atlantic, and in time over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But they are all inspired by a cluster of linked preoccupations with the nature of the social order now emerging in the world and the kinds of moral and political legitimation it requires and permits. The essays are also linked by Ernest Gellner's distinctive, and highly arresting, intellectual temper and style. The volume will interest a wide range of readers in the social sciences and philosophy.