Wicked Company and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Trade in your item
Get a £0.25
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Wicked Company: Freethinkers and Friendship in pre-Revolutionary Paris Hardcover – 31 Mar 2011


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£15.00 £12.53


Trade In this Item for up to £0.25
Trade in Wicked Company: Freethinkers and Friendship in pre-Revolutionary Paris for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (31 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297858181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297858188
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.5 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 760,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

Mr Blom's book is part biography and part polemic. He sketches the early lives of Diderot, Holbach, Rousseau and other players in the drama, and describes the philosophy they hammered out. It is also an iconoclastic rebuttal of what he describes as the "official" history of the Enlightenment. (THE ECONOMIST)

Blom's passionate enthusiasm for ideas and his immersive knowledge has created a crash course in the great debates of a distant era but he leaves us in no doubt that the arguments of the 18th century have yet to be resolved (Ben Felsenburg METRO)

'Blom is such a stylish and clever writer: his prose is as lucid and elegant as any of his 18th-century heroes...Blom's book is not only a pleasure to read but also a celebration of the real and material joys to be found in the godless universe" (Andrew Hussey FINANCIAL TIMES)

Blom skilfully weaves his story around a large cast of characters...(and) teases out the nuances of the group's ideas with considerable finesse. (Suzi Feay INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

(An) engaging portrait (David Auberach TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT)

A remarkable group of men populate the pages of Philipp Blom's quirky and original book. (Jonathan Sumption THE SPECTATOR)

Blom succeeds in conveying a lot of detailed information about the philosophes' friendships and amorous adventures to the general reader in engaging and readily accessible prose. (Ruth Scurr LITERARY REVIEW)

Book Description

Dazzling recreation of the world of radical free-thinkers in 18th-century France.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an enthralling look at the Enlightenment in Pre-Revolutionary Paris and, in particular, at one of the many famous salons there - that of Baron d'Holbach. His salon was different from most, often grander salons, which were headed by ladies who wished to encourage literature. Holbach's was more of a male preserve, and he attracted free thinkers, philosophers and scientists. Along with early friends, such as Diderot and Rousseau, his house became a magnet for those thinkers and intellectuals who wished to replace religion with science. The Enlightenment battle cry was "Sapere aude!" - "Dare to know!", but this was easier said that done in a time where the Church and State imposed heavy censorship. Diderot found himself in prison for a while and Holbach himself was forced to publish books under false names and to smuggle chapters out of the country, using ruses such as having different people to copy them out to disguise his own handwriting. Diderot spent most of his life compiling the magnificent "Encyclopadie", but even something, as seemingly innocuous as listing things in alphabetical order, rather than giving precedence to certain topics, was seen as dangerous in those times.

Despite the dangers in their beliefs, the salon became famous throughout Europe. David Hume, who arrived in Paris in 1763 to take up assignment as embassy secretary, was well known for his six volume "History of England". This was seen as daring, as it would have been impossible to write such a work on French history. He was feted, as all Paris scrambled to meet him. Diderot and Holbach (by now, Rousseau had fallen out with a previous friends, as he would also fall out later with Hume), spoke excellent English.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte on 22 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I confess, this is not my taste; bought as a Christmas gift for my scholarly mother. Thorough, deeply embedded researched and exactly what it says on the cover.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wicked Company 10 April 2012
By S Riaz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an enthralling look at the Enlightenment in Pre-Revolutionary Paris and, in particular, at one of the many famous salons there - that of Baron d'Holbach. His salon was different from most, often grander salons, which were headed by ladies who wished to encourage literature. Holbach's was more of a male preserve, and he attracted free thinkers, philosophers and scientists. Along with early friends, such as Diderot and Rousseau, his house became a magnet for those thinkers and intellectuals who wished to replace religion with science. The Enlightenment battle cry was "Sapere aude!" - "Dare to know!", but this was easier said that done in a time where the Church and State imposed heavy censorship. Diderot found himself in prison for a while and Holbach himself was forced to publish books under false names and to smuggle chapters out of the country, using ruses such as having different people to copy them out to disguise his own handwriting. Diderot spent most of his life compiling the magnificent "Encyclopadie", but even something, as seemingly innocuous as listing things in alphabetical order, rather than giving precedence to certain topics, was seen as dangerous in those times.

Despite the dangers in their beliefs, the salon became famous throughout Europe. David Hume, who arrived in Paris in 1763 to take up assignment as embassy secretary, was well known for his six volume "History of England". This was seen as daring, as it would have been impossible to write such a work on French history. He was feted, as all Paris scrambled to meet him. Diderot and Holbach (by now, Rousseau had fallen out with a previous friends, as he would also fall out later with Hume), spoke excellent English. They attracted Hume to their salon, as they did other international visitors, including the actor David Garrick and the Italian Cesare Becccaria, who opposed the death penalty.

These were heady times and the group were attacking religion, were against slavery, calling for better education for girls and suggesting that humans were oppressed by religion and should be looking at The Pursuit of Happiness. However, despite all the ideas and philosophy in this book, it is really the human story of a group of men and their lives. About their relationships and the arguments between them and Rousseau, who had become a successful author in his own right and who felt persecuted. Rousseau also successfully combined sentiment with a philosophical defence of religion, which was more acceptable to the majority of people. Also, the whole group were looked on from exile, by Voltaire, afraid that his position was being usurped.

The events and circumstances were against these men, and their ideas. Yet, still they flourished and their ideas could not be repressed. These group of men were advocating ideas that were totally unacceptable at that time - they supported the American revolution and concluded sometimes that only a revolution could rid oppressed people of violence from above. Paris would see that revolution and some of the ideas which led to it, certainly emerged from the salon of Baron d'Holbach, although ultimately they were rejected by Robespierre as being too dangerous. The people who believed that freedom would come when the last King had been strangled by the last Priest's entrails, were rejected in favour of their rival Rousseau. Yet, no group of people had done so much to change the society's way of thinking and, at one time, they were the centre of the intellectual elite. Fascinating read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a last comment, I read the kindle edition of this book and it contained illustrations.
I love Diderot 19 Nov 2013
By Howard R. Seccombe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent, readable book on the philosophes of the mid-18th century, with key figures Voltaire, Rousseau and the circle including Diderot and Holbach. Brought to life their philosophies and writings and the sort of people they were. A major theme is the way in which Voltaire won the contest for respectability, with Rousseau also very prominent, while the Diderot–Holbach circle is unfairly underrated, even today. So there is an imbalance to be corrected.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback