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The book has a broadly but not exclusively chronological fente and a series of rather whimsical chapter titles. Oct 31, John David rated it liked it Shelves: Jan 03, Daniel Kukwa rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. However, these individuals’ lives were not overtly dramatic despite their supposed radicalism: I was moved to consider the unintentiona This is an interesting interpretation of the radical enlightenment within Pre-Revolutionary French society.

At times repetitive, this book by Austrian social historian Phillip Blom is nevertheless a terrific read. He makes a decent case for the negative tendencies of Rousseau’s philosophy but Rousseau is not the whole of the moderate Enlightenment.

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

Aug 26, Gert de Cooman rated it it was amazing. Nov 20, Jesse Field rated it really liked it. His ideas have to be set in the context of his writings as a whole and of the times in which he lived. This stated partiality initially concerned me, but did not reduce my enjoyment of the book overall. Blom demonstrates that his ideas were at best a retreat from Enlightenment values and at worst sowed the seeds for fascist ideology. His books were burned and banned because he was the philosopher of social equality in an epoch of gross inequality.

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Focusing on the lives of Holbach, Diderot, and their philosopher friends and enemies, this account unveils the struggles of thinkers who wanted to create a world without God. 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.

Oct 02, Christopherseelie rated it really liked it. 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. Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man are equally wonderful. Blom believes that Holbach has been unjustly neglected and relegated to the footnotes of history because his materialism and atheism are rejected today. Apr 07, Paul Heidebrecht rated it really liked it.


A duchess has no higher claim to happiness than the humblest geente, and a society in which happiness is possible not just for the privileged few can be achieved only through solidarity and cooperation. While I very much enjoyed the subject matter and contextual, formative placement gfnte the philosophesI did find this a chore to read through starting about halfway.

A terrific read, erudite and witty, this packs an impressive amount of information, much of it quite abstract, into a fast-moving and absorbing narrative.

Philipp Blom

Thanks for telling us about the problem. The extent of censorship and suppression that the circle worked under is also effectively conveyed. They sought to have a society based on mutual respect, without masters and slaves, without oppressors and oppressed. Diderot got to know Holbach after he was released from prison for writing his Letter on the Blind.

Holbach enrolled at the University of Leiden in where he became a friend of John Wilkes, who went on to become a notorious English radical. A must-read for historians seeking to understand the underlying philosophies of the French Revolution and 20th Century philosophy. Sep 22, Steve rated it liked it. A very out of the blue look at the Enlightenment that takes everything I’ve been taught so far and turns it on his head. Denis Diderot was de bekendste vaste bezoeker van het salon van Holbach en schreef een hele resem boeken en toneelstukken.

In Western culture, the late 17th and most of the 18th century is known as The Enlightenment — a European intellectual movement where reason was placed on centre stage and used as the basis for submitting all traditional values into question. This book is a spectacular introduction to some of the major personalities of an era that gave birth not only to the French and American Revolutions, but also to most of modern science and philosophy.

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Rousseau was initially on side with the Encyclopaedists, but became increasingly alienated from them gentee the point of paranoia; he particularly detested their atheism, and Blom suggests that his Deism was ultimately tainted by the controlling and humourless influence of his Calvinist background.

Je leeft soms echt met hen mee en krijgt een idee hoe het er tussen hen aan toe ging. Without a God who has set some people above others, everybody — regardless of social station, sex, race, and creed — has an equal right to seek pleasure and, ultimately, happiness.

It wasn’t clear to me whether I should view it as a. He does a good job tying these debates peligrosx personal glom to their historical impact, and overall the presentation is detailed and nuanced. Repetitive writing, jumping timelines, and rambling points made this less enjoyable.


Het is een fantastische poging om die boeiende tijd juist voor de Fanse revolutie tot leven te brengen.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

Not only does Blom give detailed portraits of Denis Diderot and his close associates, he also offers a nice primer about previous thinkers like Lucretius, Spinoza and Descartes, and such non-Frenchmen as the wonderful David Hume, who spent a great deal of time arguing spiritedly about his ideas at the salon of Baron d’Holbach. And, by the end of the book, the descriptions of their philosophies got old.

The tragedy of Rousseau, and ultimately of the French Revolution, was that the most advanced thinkers which the Enlightenment produced could not, by sheer force of intellect, discover a means of ensuring equality among the citizens of the First Republic. Met kleurrijke details en anekdotes over alle protagonisten zet Blom de Philosophes neer als mensen van vlees en bloed die ook hun kleine kantjes hadden.

Perhaps to this day the most influential and popular philosopher he is all for individualism and naturalism, a belief in the natural innocence of children and important in his suggestions of training and education of the developing individual in society. Change and Culture in the West, Rousseau, who frequently visited Diderot while he was in prison, may already have known Holbach.

In a godless universe, some Enlightenment philosophers, in the search for a better future for humanity, adopted Reason as the only relevant player in a kind of supreme rationalist utopia; but at the same time replicated the Christian disdain for human passions, instincts, or the yearning for beauty which were all irrational impulses after all.

Blom often waxes prolix over his subjects, lovingly painted and with certain layers Diderot’s internal pelgrosa between faith and skepticism, for pihlipp added on a bit thick. To ask other readers questions about A Wicked Companyplease sign up.

Blom weaves the intellectual ambitions of this exhilerating period into an absorbing narrative that will entertain the general reader with an interest in philosophy, and provide valuable insight into the genesis and development of radical political reform in Europe, and the genesis of the Romantic movement as well as the zenith of the Enlightenment. Trivia About A Wicked Company