A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

by Philipp Blom

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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The flourishing of radical philosophy in Baron Thierry Holbach's Paris salon from the 1750s to the 1770s stands as a seminal event in Western history. Holbach's house was an international epicenter of revolutionary ideas and intellectual daring, bringing together such original minds as Denis Diderot, Laurence Sterne, David Hume, Adam Smith, Ferdinando Galiani, Horace Walpole, Benjamin Franklin, Guillaume Raynal, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

In A Wicked Company, acclaimed historian Philipp Blom retraces the fortunes of this exceptional group of friends. 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. A startlingly relevant work of narrative history, A Wicked Company forces us to confront with new eyes the foundational debates about modern society and its future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465028658
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Philipp Blom is the author of several award-winning books, including A Wicked Company, and The Vertigo Years, which has been made into a three-part television documentary. A frequent lecturer at European and American universities, he also contributes to international newspapers and hosts a radio show on Austrian national radio. Philipp Blom lives in Vienna.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Fathers and Sons

1 City of Lights 1

2 Journeys 15

3 Encyclopédie: Grand Ambitions 37

4 Chez M. Holbach 55

5 Audacity 75

6 Christianity Unveiled 91

7 Only the Wicked Man Lives Alone 113

Marvelous Machines

8 Le Bon David 133

9 A Natural Philosophy 151

10 Sheikhs of the Rue Royale 165

11 Grandval 181

12 The Bear 199

The Island of Love

13 Crime and Punishment 217

14 The Most Ungrateful Dogg in the World 231

15 Fame and Fate 245

16 The Empress and the Bean King 257

17 Sex in Paradise 271

18 Fifty Hired Priests 291

Epilogue: A Stolen Revolution 305

A Glossary of Protagonists 319

A Very Selective Bibliography 323

Notes 327

Index 345

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