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Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English
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Jonathan Ree
Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English by Jonathan Ree at Abbey's Bookshop,

Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English

Jonathan Ree


Allen Lane

Social & cultural history;
Western philosophy: c 1600 to c 1900;
History of ideas


752 pages

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In Witcraft Jonathan Ree offers compelling intellectual portraits of celebrated British and American philosophers such as Locke, Hume, Emerson, Mill and James. But he also does much more. He draws attention to the philosophical work of literary authors like William Hazlitt and George Eliot, and dozens of others now largely forgotten, while paying tribute to the hundreds of ordinary men and women who engaged with philosophy while getting on with the rest of their lives.

Philosophers in Britain and America have often been regarded as narrow-minded and pedestrian compared to their counterparts in continental Europe- this lively and eventful book reveals them instead as colourful, diverse, inventive and cosmopolitan.

Philosophy, in Ree's interpretation, turns out to be not the work of a few canonical old men, but of masses of ordinary people who have insisted on thinking for themselves, and reaching their own conclusions about religion, politics, art and everything else. 'We English men have wits', as Ralph Lever wrote in the sixteenth century. The history of philosophy will never look the same again.

By:   Jonathan Ree
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 48mm
Weight:   1.265kg
ISBN:   9780713999334
ISBN 10:   0713999330
Pages:   752
Publication Date:   June 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jonathan Ree is a freelance philosopher and historian. His previous books include Philosophical Tales, Proletarian Philosophers and I See a Voice.

This book is a game-changer. It fills a giant hole that we did not know was there. We will never be able to think of English philosophy in quite the same way again. -- Professor David Wood Ree, one of Britain's best-known living philosophers ... has delivered an impressive reimagining of what a history of philosophy ought to be. -- Alex Dean * Prospect * Ree's book may well be the most fun we've ever had with anglophone philosophy ... an intellectual adventure story in which the usual suspects all figure, but get sidelined by his heroes - the oddballs, underdogs and outcasts, many of them women, some of them scary decapitators, who were obliged to operate outside the patriarchal, class-bound academy. -- Stuart Jeffries * Spectator * Witcraft complicates the familiar narrative of philosophy. Rather than whisking us from one prominent philosophical peak to another, it spends a lot of time wandering the fertile valleys between them ... Ree's book is stylish and entertaining. -- Terry Eagleton * Guardian * Ree traces the history of English philosophy from 1601 to 1951, making periodic 50-year leaps to follow the story a couple of generations on. This structure allows him to make connections that the conventional histories of philosophy seldom can ... dead philosophers, and indeed dead philosophies, here feel alive, and integrated with the rest of history -- Nakul Krishna * Daily Telegraph * Ree spans a vast ocean of ideas. He introduces us to their shapers and breakers, and gently captains us in 50-year stretches across the seas of English-language thought with astonishing skill as both map-maker and way-finder ... enjoy its riches slowly, and savour every generous, erudite and undogmatic page. -- Boyd Tonkin * Financial Times *

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