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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. Many, many in this country, this fruit of the Enlightenment would have us recognize a state religion. This is an interesting interpretation of the radical enlightenment within Pre-Revolutionary French society. He is a professional historian who studied at Vienna and Oxford with a focus on eighteenth-century intellectual 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. His academic works include: 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.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. 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.

Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man are equally wonderful. Forgive my unmentionably irritating pun, but this is sacred to me: This insight alone should be the principle of all morality. phili;p

Blom often waxes prolix over his subjects, lovingly painted and with certain layers Diderot’s internal tension between faith and skepticism, for example added on a pgilipp thick. Het is een fantastisch werk. Dit heeft tot gevolg dat er bijzonder veel herhalingen in voorkomen vooral over wat Blom veronderstelt.

Ellul’s observation that when one rejects religion and God, one cannot help erecting another religion and god to take puilipp place, is perfectly illustrated in this story. 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.

Zo gentf de link gelegd tussen enerzijds het blm onbekende Griekse epicurische denken via de Romein Lucretius en de wegbereiders Pierre Bayle en Baruch Spinoza en anderzijds Diderot en Holbach. This is an excellent book on French enlightenment philosophers, especially Diderot, Holbach, and to a lesser extent Rousseau. All in all a good read. It seems the philosophes knew exactly what Horace meant.


Specifically, Blom argues that the greatest champions of reason in this era were d’Holbach and Diderot, while it’s fiercest enemy was Rousseau.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

I felt like maybe it was supposed to be the former but often amounted to the latter, which diminished the former’s effectiveness. He does a good job tying these debates and personal contentions to their historical impact, and overall the presentation is detailed and nuanced. Jul 21, Chaz rated it really liked it Shelves: Great cast of characters, excellent capsule summaries of their philosophical outlooks and the debates among them although the sledding here sometimes gets a little heavy.

Rousseau was a deist who rejected materialism and atheism.

The view that Rousseau was the originator of totalitarianism is entirely unhistorical. Thanks for telling us about the problem. I’m not expert on this particular century, but the number of mistakes I picked out were embarrassing. Blomm toont tevens aan hoe hard de strijd is om opgenomen te worden in de canon van de geschiedenis en wil zelf zijn bijdrage hieraan leveren door het moedige denken van rede en hartstocht van Diderot, Holbach en co, de vergeten radicalen van de Verlichting, te rehabiliteren.

His novel, Luxor has not yet been translated into English. Repetitive writing, jumping timelines, and rambling points made this less enjoyable. A duchess has no higher claim to happiness than the humblest peasant, and a society gents which happiness is possible not just for the privileged few can be achieved only through solidarity and cooperation.

Het boek komt niet to the point zelfs na de helft gelezen te hebben. Diderot got to know Phulipp after he was released from prison for writing his Letter on the Blind. 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. Blom believes that Holbach has been unjustly neglected and relegated to the footnotes of history because his materialism and atheism are rejected today.

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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.

All brilliant minds, full of wit, courage, and insight, their thinking created a different and radical French Enlightenment based on atheism, passion, reason, and truly humanist thinking. But the book strikes a chord, and confirms my biased opinion that the radical, atheistic, hedonistic Enlightenment thought with its emphasis on the individual in a social context, going back to Epicurus, and influencing amongst others Nietzsche, Shelley, and dare I even suggest it, Dawkins, is a much better guide for today than the soft, watered down and much better known version with its deistic emphas It is clear from the outset whom the author likes and dislikes, and whom he wants us to like.


They sought to have a society based on mutual respect, without masters and slaves, without oppressors and oppressed. Really enjoyed this book, the author does protest too much about Rousseau, but still a great read. His message was too disquieting, too anarchic, too dangerous to be released into the world at large. 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 is a book on personalities, not socio-political trends. So, a solid repast, but not a feast.

Romantic Enlightenment relates to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his followers. And, by the end of the book, the descriptions of their philosophies got old. As Blom explains in his Introduction: These philosophes as they were also known were daring and audacious. The ideas expounded on by these protagonists are presented more or less historically in relation to the specific players involved; many of the ideas themselves Blom points out are not necessarily all that new at all, some extending at least as far back as to Epicurus and Lucretius and peligross author briefly presents these ideas within their own specific histories — so there is often some overlapping involved but certainly not to the extent of creating confusion.

If you’re thinking about giving this book a try, my best advice to you: The author interweaves biographical snippets of various “radical” Enlightenment figures, primarily Diderot and Holbach, with broad brush, painless descriptions of their philosophies. Bijzonder leuk is pligrosa korte biografie van elke passant die achteraan het boek werd opgenomen en de vele citaten uit minder gekende en toegankelijke werken.