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

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Philipp Blom

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Philipp Blom is the author of The Vertigo Years, Enlightening the World, and To Have and To Hold. He contributes articles to the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian, among others. He lives in Vienna, Austria.
 
Published November 2, 2010 by Basic Books. 386 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Wicked Company

Kirkus Reviews

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Historian Blom (Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914, 2008, etc.) returns with a flowing, limpid account of an 18th-century French salon that housed the greatest names in French philosophy.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of A Wicked Company: The Forgott...

The Wall Street Journal

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Many philosophes ended up gouty and spherical, despite the austerities

Nov 11 2010 | Read Full Review of A Wicked Company: The Forgott...

Bookmarks Magazine

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 ...

Nov 14 2010 | Read Full Review of A Wicked Company: The Forgott...

The New Yorker

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Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of A Wicked Company: The Forgott...

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