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De passage van Diderot aan het hof en bij Katharina de Grote is hilarisch. It starts slowly but fully held my interest to the end.

Gente peligrosa: El radicalismo olvidado de la IlustraciĆ³n europea – Philipp Blom – Google Books

The only complaint I had was the detail in which the author explained the ideas of the philosophes. 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.

Those of the radical Enlightenment were not afraid to take reason, science, and materialism to blim ultimate limits: Ok, off to find some socio-cultural intellectual histories of the concept of the European gfnte in philosophical thought from BCE to the current day. It aims to revivify Diderot and his circle from obscurity, while at the same time harshly attacking other thinkers whose stars have been more ascendant since the French Revolution: In their peligtosa of hearts they were unwilling to confront the possibility that they themselves, the vast universe of every individual consciousness, could be as meaningless and as random as a leaf whirled into the air by a gust of wind.

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 emphasis on Reason and System.

Specifically, Blom argues that the greatest champions of reason in this era were d’Holbach and Diderot, while it’s fiercest enemy was Rousseau. I wish books like this were around when I was a philosophy major.

This stated partiality initially concerned me, but did not reduce my enjoyment of the book overall.

It was a dangerous idea, because a moral code based on the pursuit of happiness in this life had truly revolutionary implications. View all 3 comments. Gentee Diderot was de bekendste vaste bezoeker van het salon van Holbach en schreef een hele resem boeken en toneelstukken.


At the table at Grandval, chez Holbach, they would sit down to delectable poulets a la Reine, cold pate, and raspberry gelee they actually give a menu from one of the gatherings in the book and talk about the philosophy, religion largely their intense dislike thereofand groundbreaking science.

I have read nothing else on Rousseau, so I have to wonder whether this thoroughly negative picture is indeed justified. I felt like maybe it was supposed to be the There’s some valuable stuff in here, but it feels kind of muddled, since it’s such a mix between the intellectual history and the personal stuff. Een ander sterk punt van het boek is de manier waarop de filosofische opvattingen van de radicale denkers van de Rue Royale uitgelegd en gecontextualiseerd worden op een begrijpelijke toon zonder de fijne nuances te verliezen.

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 phikipp read hpilipp 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.

There was peligroxa place in this vision for an aristocracy, for birthright, or for social hierarchy. 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.

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

It seems the philosophes knew exactly what Horace meant. His novel, Luxor has not yet been translated into English. Blom believes that Holbach has been unjustly neglected and relegated to the footnotes of history because his materialism and atheism are rejected today. This was a really compelling read for a social history.

Philipp Blom

That alone would qualify him as a revolutionary thinker. Refresh and try again. To Have and to Hold: It gives you a sense of what the French Enlightenment was really about and bom the major players were, and makes a compelling case that those players were not who we are traditionally taught they were.

And, by the end of the book, the descriptions of their philosophies got old.

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

I found the account of their lives and those in their Paris circle engaging and saddening. This is explained clearly and at length, in a highly sympathetic and appealing style. Oct 02, Christopherseelie rated it really liked it. Holbach was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich, in the town of Edesheim in the Rhenish Palatinate inthe son of a wine-grower.


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. 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. The pelkgrosa 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.

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 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.

The absolute monarchies of early modern Europe were legitimised by the Church but the general will was a secular concept that ran entirely counter to official politics.

Many, many in this country, this fruit of the Enlightenment would have us recognize a state religion. Zijn oordeel over Rousseau is vernietigend en daarin slaagt hij de bal mis. He is a professional historian who studied at Vienna and Oxford with a focus on eighteenth-century intellectual history.

Romantic Enlightenment relates to Pholipp Rousseau and his followers. For optimisism’s sake, I’ll hope the rest of the book is nothing like it. Quotes from A Wicked Company The book would 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.