Three Critics of the Enlightenment
16%
off

Three Critics of the Enlightenment : Vico, Hamann, Herder - Second Edition

4.19 (112 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Foreword by  , Edited by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days


When will my order arrive?

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.


Not ordering to the United States? Click here.
Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas

Description

Isaiah Berlin was deeply admired during his life, but his full contribution was perhaps underestimated because of his preference for the long essay form. The efforts of Henry Hardy to edit Berlin's work and reintroduce it to a broad, eager readership have gone far to remedy this. Now, Princeton is pleased to return to print, under one cover, Berlin's essays on these celebrated and captivating intellectual portraits: Vico, Hamann, and Herder. These essays on three relatively uncelebrated thinkers are not marginal ruminations, but rather among Berlin's most important studies in the history of ideas. They are integral to his central project: the critical recovery of the ideas of the Counter-Enlightenment and the explanation of its appeal and consequences--both positive and (often) tragic. Giambattista Vico was the anachronistic and impoverished Neapolitan philosopher sometimes credited with founding the human sciences. He opposed Enlightenment methods as cold and fallacious. J. G. Hamann was a pious, cranky dilettante in a peripheral German city. But he was brilliant enough to gain the audience of Kant, Goethe, and Moses Mendelssohn.
In Hamann's chaotic and long-ignored writings, Berlin finds the first strong attack on Enlightenment rationalism and a wholly original source of the coming swell of romanticism. Johann Gottfried Herder, the progenitor of populism and European nationalism, rejected universalism and rationalism but championed cultural pluralism. Individually, these fascinating intellectual biographies reveal Berlin's own great intelligence, learning, and generosity, as well as the passionate genius of his subjects. Together, they constitute an arresting interpretation of romanticism's precursors. In Hamann's railings and the more considered writings of Vico and Herder, Berlin finds critics of the Enlightenment worthy of our careful attention. But he identifies much that is misguided in their rejection of universal values, rationalism, and science. With his customary emphasis on the frightening power of ideas, Berlin traces much of the next centuries' irrationalism and suffering to the historicism and particularism they advocated.
What Berlin has to say about these long-dead thinkers--in appreciation and dissent--is remarkably timely in a day when Enlightenment beliefs are being challenged not just by academics but by politicians and by powerful nationalist and fundamentalist movements. The study of J. G. Hamann was originally published under the title The Magus of the North: J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism. The essays on Vico and Herder were originally published as Vico and Herder: Two Studies in the History of Ideas. Both are out of print. This new edition includes a number of previously uncollected pieces on Vico and Herder, two interesting passages excluded from the first edition of the essay on Hamann, and Berlin's thoughtful responses to two reviewers of that same edition.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 39.88mm | 539g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 0691157650
  • 9780691157658
  • 492,627

Back cover copy

"Isaiah Berlin's main preoccupation was to understand the modern reaction against the Enlightenment. These essays on Counter-Enlightenment thinkers are classics and also illuminate his own ideas about the place of reason in politics. An essential volume."--Mark Lilla, Columbia University

"Isaiah Berlin is among the finest intellectual historians of recent decades. Yet his position is somewhat peculiar: for while he is clearly a scholar of enormous erudition, the characteristic style of his work is closer to that of brilliant conversation than of conventional historical scholarship. His works on Vico, Herder, and Hamann deal with thinkers who were at odds with main currents of the Enlightenment. For anyone with a historical sense, the recrudescence of so many of the characteristic notions of the 'Counter-Enlightenment' under the rubric of 'postmodernism' is striking. The recovery of these ideas is all the more effective for being a critical one: Berlin reminds his readers of some of the unfortunate historical consequences of the ideas in question."--Jerry Z. Muller, Catholic University of America

"Isaiah Berlin's main preoccupation throughout his productive life was understand the nature of the modern reaction against the Enlightenment. These essays on Vico, Herder, and Hamann belong with his other profound and influential studies of the leading figures of what he called the Counter-Enlightenment. But they are also crucial for anyone hoping to understand Berlin's own analysis of modern life and politics, which has received increasing attention in recent years. Anyone interested in Berlin or those he studied will find this an essential volume."--Mark Lilla, University of Chicago
show more

Table of contents

Foreword by Jonathan Israel ix Editor's Preface xix Note on References xxv VICO AND HERDER 1 Author's Preface 5 Introduction 7 The Philosophical Ideas of Giambattista Vico 26 Vico's Theory of Knowledge and Its Sources 151 Herder and the Enlightenment 208 THE MAGUS OF THE NORTH 301 Editor's Preface 305 Foreword to the German Edition 312 Author's Preface 317 1. Introduction 320 2. Life 324 3. The Central Core 341 4. The Enlightenment 345 5. Knowledge 350 6. Language 390 7. Creative Genius 410 8. Politics 423 9. Conclusion 428 Excursus to Chapter 6 444 Bibliographical Note 449 Appendix to the Second Edition 453 Giambattista Vico: Man of Genius 455 The Reputation of Vico 479 The Workings of Providence 484 Hamann's Origins 486 Letters 489 Index 517
show more

Review quote

"Isaiah Berlin's main preoccupation throughout his productive life was understand the nature of the modern reaction against the Enlightenment. These essays on Vico, Herder, and Hamann belong with his other profound and influential studies of the leading figures of what he called the Counter-Enlightenment. But they are also crucial for anyone hoping to understand Berlin's own analysis of modern life and politics, which has received increasing attention in recent years. Anyone interested in Berlin or those he studied will find this an essential volume."-Mark Lilla, University of Chicago "Isaiah Berlin is among the finest intellectual historians of recent decades. Yet his position is somewhat peculiar: for while he is clearly a scholar of enormous erudition, the characteristic style of his work is closer to that of brilliant conversation than of conventional historical scholarship. His works on Vico, Herder, and Hamann deal with thinkers who were at odds with main currents of the Enlightenment. For anyone with a historical sense, the recrudescence of so many of the characteristic notions of the 'Counter-Enlightenment' under the rubric of 'postmodernism' is striking. The recovery of these ideas is all the more effective for being a critical one: Berlin reminds his readers of some of the unfortunate historical consequences of the ideas in question."-Jerry Z. Muller, Catholic University of America "Isaiah Berlin's main preoccupation was to understand the modern reaction against the Enlightenment. These essays on Counter-Enlightenment thinkers are classics and also illuminate his own ideas about the place of reason in politics. An essential volume."-Mark Lilla, Columbia University
show more

About Isaiah Berlin

Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was one of the leading intellectual historians of the twentieth century and the founding president of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. His many books include The Hedgehog and the Fox, The Crooked Timber of Humanity, The Roots of Romanticism, and Against the Current (all Princeton). Henry Hardy, a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is one of Isaiah Berlin's literary trustees. He has edited several other volumes by Berlin, and is currently preparing Berlin's letters and remaining unpublished writings for publication.
show more

Rating details

112 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 39% (44)
4 45% (50)
3 13% (15)
2 2% (2)
1 1% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X