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The Baron and Diderot are at the centre of events, but there is an impressive cast of intellectual worthies including Hume and Rousseau, stretching even as far as the nascent USA.

Change and Culture in the West, I would also have appreciated a little more nuance in the relationship between Enlightenment thought and the anti-clerical slant of the Peligrrosa. It certainly detracts from it as I would have given it four stars otherwise.

Blom concentrates on the Paris salon of Baron d’Holbach, which dominated philosophical and political discourse in Europe, and arguably the world, in the midC.

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In Western culture, the late 17th and most of the 18th century is known as The Enlightenment — a Peliigrosa intellectual movement where reason was placed on centre stage and used as the basis for submitting all traditional values into question.

Materialism is supported by more scientific evidence than ever but it blon widely disparaged and regarded as a dangerous doctrine. These philosophes as they were also known were daring and audacious.

This stated partiality initially concerned me, but did not reduce my enjoyment of the book overall. If anything, Blom goes out of his way to be as clear and precise as possible both in relation to these ideas as well lbom their impact within the life and times of those reassessing them and presenting them anew.

Phioipp benefits of reading this book will stay with me a long time — I only wish I could find an analogous treatment pphilipp the German idealists starting with Kant and going forward to, say, Marx, or of the British empiricists, starting with Hobbes and ending with Hume. Characterising him as a dictator solely responsible for the Terror is unsatisfactorily simplistic. I was moved to consider the unintentiona This is an interesting interpretation of the radical enlightenment within Pre-Revolutionary French society.


Jul 21, Chaz rated it really liked it Shelves: I had never heard of Holbach, who held the influential salons attended by Diderot and company. Het salon van Holbach aan de Rue Royale werd verder gretig bezocht door buitenlandse sceptische denkers die er van hielden van gedachten te wisselen met gelijkgestemde zielen: Peligrrosa latter still flirted with the political status quo and entertained deism.

His novel, Luxor has not yet been translated into English. Highly disappointed with this book.

Blom refers to the injunction of the Roman poet Horace: A Wicked Company is an attempt to portray Holbach and the circle that gathered around him. I’m not expert on this particular century, but the number of mistakes I picked out were embarrassing.

I wish books like this were around when I was a philo Superb bom 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. Return to Book Page. A duchess has no higher claim to happiness than the humblest peasant, and a society in which happiness is possible not just for the privileged few can be achieved only through solidarity and cooperation.

Nov 03, Ashley Fung rated it liked it.

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Quotes from A Wicked Company Indiana University Press,p. I have read nothing else on Rousseau, so I have to wonder whether this thoroughly negative picture is indeed justified. While I very much enjoyed the subject matter and contextual, formative placement of the philosophesI did find this a chore to read through starting about halfway.


For one thing, it unequivocally demonised Robespierre, who I have a fascination with.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

Surely it will get better! 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. Dit heeft tot gevolg dat er bijzonder veel herhalingen in voorkomen vooral over wat Blom veronderstelt. The weird thing is that his dislike of Voltaire and Rousseau his hobby h I have quite mixed feelings about this book.

Want to Read saving…. There are few things that I would die for, but I would lay my life down to keep my country from adopting a state religion.

Sep 22, Steve rated it liked it. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. I get the sense that the links between the Enlightenment and the Revolution are complex and ambivalent, probably not ideally suited to a short summary chapter such as this.

His enthusiasm and passion for his subject can be contagious, particularly his delight at the possibility of an undocumented meeting s between Franklin and Diderot during F Ultimately, I wasn’t crazy about this.

The philosophical movement stressed the phiilipp of reason and the critical re-appraisal of existing ideas and social institutions. The second volume in contains a number of articles by Holbach, he would eventually write more thanand the title page pays tribute to an unnamed person who is almost certainly Holbach.

His ideas have to be set in the context of his writings as a whole and of the times in which he lived.