Comprehensive and accessible, this Companion addresses several well-known themes in the study of Franklin and his writings, while also showing Franklin in conversation with his British and European counterparts in science, philosophy, and social theory. Specially commissioned chapters, written by scholars well-known in their respective fields, examine Franklin's writings and his life with a new sophistication, placing Franklin in his cultural milieu while revealing the complexities of his intellectual, literary, social, and political views. Individual chapters take up several traditional topics, such as Franklin and the American dream, Franklin and capitalism, and Franklin's views of American national character. Other chapters delve into Franklin's library and his philosophical views on morality, religion, science, and the Enlightenment and explore his continuing influence in American culture. This Companion will be essential reading for students and scholars of American literature, history and culture.