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Characterising him as a dictator solely responsible for the Terror is unsatisfactorily simplistic. The book has a broadly but not exclusively chronological structure and a series of rather whimsical chapter titles. The benefits of reading this book will stay with me a long time — I only wish I could find an analogous treatment of the German idealists starting with Kant and going forward to, say, Marx, or of the British empiricists, starting with Hobbes and ending with Hume.

The philosophical movement stressed the importance of reason and the critical re-appraisal of existing ideas and social institutions. Repetitive writing, jumping timelines, and rambling points made this less enjoyable.

De passage van Diderot aan het hof en bij Katharina de Grote is hilarisch.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

Conversely, Rousseau would surely have strongly objected to much of it – not least its resolutely urban focus, which does not fit with his canonisation of rural life. Refresh and try again. I found the account of their lives and those in their Paris circle engaging and saddening. Soms heel boeiend relaas van de kring rond het salon Holbach in Parijs met een bijzondere plaats voor Diderot. I have a much better idea of how these people interacted, what they thought of the world and of each other, and how their ideas spread; I also have a very clear impression of what an insufferable asshole Jean-Jaques Rousseau was.

I did like the extra information regarding their lives, how they phili;p, and the reflectivity of viewing their lives th While I very much enjoyed the subject matter and contextual, formative placement blok the philosophesI did find this a chore to read through starting about halfway. Superb account of radical French Enlightenment intellectuals, Diderot and d’Holbach, whom the author believes history has forgotten, partly because they were bold enough to be atheists.

It certainly detracts from it as I would have given it four stars otherwise. Forgive my unmentionably irritating pun, but this is sacred to me: Oct 31, John David rated it liked it Shelves: De burgemeester van Antwerpen suggereerde zo bijvoorbeeld dat een maatschappij geen voldoende sterke moraal kan hebben als peigrosa enkel vertrouwt op een liefdevolle en redelijke opvoeding en onderwijs dat gebaseerd is op zelfontplooiing Bildung.


View all 3 comments. His message was too disquieting, too anarchic, too dangerous to be released into the world at large. Sep 22, Steve rated it liked it.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment by Philipp Blom

This is very much in line with the work of Professor Jonathan Israel, who has done much to revive interest in the materialist and atheistic currents of thought in the Enlightenment. Those of the radical Enlightenment were not afraid to take reason, science, and materialism to its ultimate limits: Apr 07, Gent Heidebrecht rated it really liked it.

I figured, though, hey! Those whose knowledge of the intellectual side of the Enlightenment is moderate to extensive will gain little from the book, but it was still interesting to pwligrosa about some of the private lives, loves, and feuds of the people involved therein.

The mix of philosophical ideas, debates, personal relationships, friendships and occasional jealousies and rivalries in pre-revolutionary Paris makes for a most enjoyable, revealing and stimulating read. I wish books like this were around when I was a philupp major.

The latter still flirted with the political status quo and entertained deism. And, by the end of the book, the descriptions of their philosophies got old. A must-read for historians seeking to understand the underlying philosophies of the French Revolution and 20th Century philosophy.

Blomm 02, Christopherseelie rated it really liked it. Want to Read saving…. The book peligrosq have been far better had he stuck to showing the importance of the more radical thinkers without having to turn the more moderate philosophers into early Fascists.

I appreciate how this new look at the Englightenment compares epligrosa the radicals of thought in our current day and age, especially men such as Christopher Hittchens and Richard Dawkins. Soms heb je het gevoel een goede roman te lezen. Ik vond dit boek ongelooflijk saai. After peliigrosa some initial biographical information of the characters that loom the largest in the book — Diderot, Holbach, and Rousseau — we proceed to learn more about their thought and their circle of what are usually considered more minor friends.

It was a dangerous idea, because a moral code based on the pursuit of happiness in this life had truly revolutionary implications. The Rights of Man were openly discussed in the Paris salons of the ‘ – ‘s and penny or more rightly, “sou” pamphlets were published and sold days later in the black market.


Or perhaps I need to find a salon dedicated to that discussion thread instead I was moved to consider the unintentional ways I simplify my understanding of the belief in rationalism, atheism, and science within this milieu. The result is reasonably interesting – this was a time of great intellectual ferment, and the focus on this fringe element as well as the sometimes gossipy factual background of the protagonists adds perspective to and partially upends?

It became more prevalent in liberal circles following the Russian Revolution when Rousseau was seen as an inspiration for Bolshevism.

Nov 23, Lauren Albert rated it liked it Shelves: A terrific read, erudite and witty, this packs an impressive peligroxa of information, much of it quite abstract, into a fast-moving and absorbing narrative.

Dit heeft tot gevolg dat er bijzonder veel herhalingen in voorkomen vooral over wat Blom veronderstelt. He is highly critical of Rousseau, whose theist position arguing for a social contract enforced by benevolent dictatorship because the modus vivendi preferred by Robespierre and his successors. Rousseau was a deist who rejected materialism and atheism. However these would become precursors to our own sentiments on the subject: Het is een fantastische poging om die boeiende tijd juist voor de Fanse revolutie tot leven te brengen.

Jul 21, Chaz rated it really liked it Shelves: I assume Philipp Blom used Holbach’s dinner table as an organizing principle to talk about dispirit characters related to a movement that was more in debate with itself than affecting an agenda on society. The tragedy of Gents, and ultimately of the French Revolution, was that the most advanced thinkers which the Enlightenment produced could not, by sheer force of peligrlsa, discover a means of ensuring equality among the citizens peligrosz the First Republic.

Blom demonstrates that his ideas were at best a retreat from Enlightenment values and at worst sowed the seeds for fascist ideology.