A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment

Philipp Blom, Basic, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-465-01453-8
Historian Blom (The Vertigo Years) visits the salons of 18th-century Europe and compares this "radical" Enlightenment with the more bourgeoisie, "soft Enlightenment" of Votaire, Kant, and other philosophers. Though Baron d'Holbach's uncompromising atheist writings are largely ignored today, his salon was once considered "the epicenter of intellectual life in Europe." Great minds of the time, including Diderot and Rousseau, gathered at his table. Blom draws close to Diderot's Encyclopedia, two decades in the making. Loaded with facts and rife with subversive thought, the Encyclopedia's contributors expounded with impunity on forbidden, dangerous subjects, giving the reading public a proxy seat at Holbach's table. Blom's hugely enjoyable effort succeeds most in exposing readers to the ideas of a wide range of philosophers, from Epicurus to Kant; cleverly, Blom surrounds his medicine with titillating asides, from Rousseau's fetishes (exposing his bottom to female passers-by in Tunis in the hopes of getting slapped) to a selection from D'Alembert's Dream that bears a marked resemblance to a certain café scene in When Harry Met Sally. To make philosophy accessible is the mark of a good writer; to make it exciting is the mark of a great one. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Show other formats
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-465-03258-7
Hardcover - 361 pages - 978-0-465-14563-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-282-87253-0
Paperback - 361 pages - 978-0-465-02865-8
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-297-85818-8
Paperback - 361 pages - 978-0-7710-1649-3
Hardcover - 361 pages - 978-0-7710-1635-6
Paperback - 361 pages - 978-1-78022-010-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-55199-582-3
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.