By Philipp Blom
A depraved Company tells the extraordinary tale of Baron Thierry Holbach’s Parisian salon, an epicenter of freethinking that introduced jointly the best minds of the 18th century. Over wine-soaked dinner events, the best intellectuals of the Western worldfigures resembling Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, Horace Walpole, and Benjamin Franklinmatched wits and scandalized each other with their very own ever-more-provocative principles. Writers of genius all, filled with wit and braveness (but additionally own contradictions, doubts, conflicts of moral sense, and their justifiable share of open arguments and love affairs), this crew of buddies embodied an brilliant radicalism in eu proposal, so uncompromising and ambitious that its bracing, releasing, humanist imaginative and prescient has nonetheless no longer been totally discovered. As acclaimed historian Philipp Blom exhibits, those thinkers’ research of our tradition is still as legitimate because it used to be then, and has misplaced little of its power to shockor to strength us to confront with new eyes debates approximately our society and its destiny.
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Additional info for A Wicked Company: The Forgotten Radicalism of the European Enlightenment
In these periods, radical individualists, anarchists, and utopian socialists promoted the abolition, among other things, of ﬁlial piety and the institutions of family and marriage. However, Liang never went as far as that. He did not believe that the concept of rights should apply in the realm of intimate human relations. This was one of the major reasons that Liang ceased to be read when radical individualists, anarchists, and abolitionists of marriage in the New Culture Movement dominated the national cultural life.
3. Philosophical and aesthetic pursuits from 1898 to 1907, Literary criticism from 1907 to 1911, and Historical, etymological, and epigraphical studies from 1911 to 1927. This division is by no means clear-cut, with overlaps resulting from his simultaneous exploration in several areas and from his obsessive engagement in writing poetry throughout nearly all of his career. Wang Guowei’s achievement and inﬂuence as a serious thinker and proliﬁc writer are chieﬂy represented by six works. The ﬁrst is Honglou Meng Pinglun (1904), a literary critique of The Dream of the Red Chamber that revealed his pessimistic understanding of human existence and reﬂected the inﬂuence of Schopenhauer, early Daoism, and Buddhism.
2, p. 958). The proposition, “Human beings have the right to self-mastery” (ren you zizhu zhi quan), was the ﬁrst universal theorem ( gongfa) of Kang’s axiomatic system. Kang applied this universal theorem to the ﬁve basic Confucian human relationships (wulun): husband–wife, parent–child, teacher–disciple, emperor– subject, and elder brother–younger brother. He appealed to this universal theorem when he criticized the central aspects of Confucian moral teaching. For example, he wanted to abolish the family; in his future utopia, children would grow up in government-run units.