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It was a huge publishing success: The latter still flirted with the political status quo and entertained deism.

Highly disappointed with this book. In the government gemte its license, but the book continued to be produced illegally. Sep 12, Ed Holden rated it it was amazing. Sep 17, Sarah Bierle rated it it was ok Shelves: The author interweaves biographical snippets of various “radical” Peligrossa figures, primarily Diderot and Holbach, with broad brush, painless descriptions of their philosophies.

Many, many in this country, this fruit of the Enlightenment would have us recognize a state religion.

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

Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, and Enlightenment Contested: The extent of censorship and suppression that the circle worked under is also effectively conveyed. Above leligrosa it is a necessary read for those who would prefer to live in a country that wishes to keep the wall up between secular government and organized religion.

Portraying Rousseau as a totalitarian has a long history. While in a godless universe there is no transcendental yardstick of an absolute, revealed Truth and Goodness, it is perfectly easy to see what is beneficial and what is harmful to people here and now.

While I very much enjoyed the subject matter and contextual, formative phiilipp of the philosophesI peligroas find this a chore to read through starting about halfway. He thinks that Voltaire and Rousseau are overrated and some of the other philosophers are not given enough credit, particularly Diderot–a reasonable point but his tone is highly biased.

Other times it is seasoned with delicious gossip of these European luminaries, les philosphes, of the 18 Century.

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This insight alone should be the principle of all morality. Blom demonstrates that his ideas were at best a retreat from Enlightenment values and at worst sowed the seeds for fascist ideology. Engaging for non-fiction, It read like a story, with each chapter focusing on a different philosophe or event, but while retaining a common thread throughout. Zijn oordeel over Rousseau is vernietigend en daarin slaagt hij de bal mis.


The philosophical movement stressed genge importance of reason and the critical re-appraisal of existing ideas and social institutions. A startlingly relevant work of narrative history, A Wicked Company forces us to confront philupp new eyes the foundational debates about modern society and its future.

Its publication in made the previously obscure writer widely known. 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.

It starts slowly but fully held my interest to the end. I did like the extra information regarding their lives, how they changed, and the reflectivity of viewing their lives th 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.

It was a dangerous idea, because a moral code based on the pursuit of happiness in this life had truly revolutionary implications. Rousseau, in pepigrosa, is painted as one major-league asshole.

Philipp Blom

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

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.

Not only are the lives and ideas of the current characters discussed in context, but Blom also takes the time to discuss those people that influenced their thought, some of which I only now realized I had not fully fleshed out before. Aug 09, Norman S rated it it was amazing. There was no place in this vision for an aristocracy, for birthright, or for philjpp hierarchy. As a result, claims Blom, the remarkable achievements of the radical philosophers became sidelined and they lacked the recognition they richly deserved – so much so, in fact, that while Voltaire and Rousseau are memorialized in the Pantheon, Holbach and Diderot were buried in an obscure ossuary, later looted by rebels, and local clergy are reluctant even to admit the presence of their unidentified remains.


Repetitive writing, jumping timelines, and rambling points made this less enjoyable. Denis Diderot was one of my heroes since reading “La Religieuse” “The Nun” in High School French class the novel depicts a convent which is presided over by a sadistic lesbian.

De scherpe pen van Friedrich Nietzsche merkte hieromtrent op dat Voltaire de laatste grote geest van het oude Frankrijk was en Diderot de eerste grote geest van het nieuwe Frankrijk. In A Wicked Companyacclaimed historian Philipp Blom retraces the fortunes of this exceptional group of friends. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Je leeft soms echt met hen mee en krijgt een idee hoe het er tussen hen aan toe ging.

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. Feb 17, Rachel rated it really liked it. Jul 21, Chaz rated it really liked it Shelves: He is a professional historian who studied at Vienna and Oxford with a focus on eighteenth-century intellectual history.

May 11, Anna rated it liked it Shelves: Oct 02, Christopherseelie rated it really liked it.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

These philosophes as they were also known were daring and audacious. Holbach peliigrosa born Paul Heinrich Dietrich, in the town of Edesheim in the Rhenish Palatinate inthe son of a wine-grower. Speculation aside, what I can say for sure is this book is very thought-provoking and piqued my curiosity regarding the Enlightenment and its thinkers. For the first two-thirds of the book, Blom lets his sizeable bias against Rousseau get in the way of an otherwise much more objective piece of intellectual history.

After giving some initial biographical information of the characters that loom the philipp in the book — Diderot, Holbach, and Rousseau — we proceed to learn more about their thought philiop their circle of what are usually considered more minor friends. Lists with This Book.