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The Cynic Enlightenment: Diogenes in the Salon (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society) Hardcover – December 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (December 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801893852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801893858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Shea’s purpose is not to write an intellectual history of Cynicism, but rather, and more impressively, to perform a critical analysis of the role of Cynicism in the development of modern thought. No one else has attempted such an ambitious examination of modern philosophy’s debt toward the Cynics.

(Marie-Hélène Huet, Princeton University)

Shea's book is an impressive work of comparative literature, encompassing classical Greek philosophy, the Enlightenment in both France and Germany, and the postmodern movement... This book provides fascinating, insightful reading on a much maligned or belittled school of thought that nevertheless seems to retain the capacity to invigorate widely divergent philosophers across the centuries.

(Edward Ousselin French Studies)

In her appealingly ambitious study of Cynicism in the eighteenth century, Louisa Shea perceptively articulates the tensions that have long structured debates around the social effects of philosophical critique.

(Natania Meeker Eighteenth-Century Fiction)

About the Author

Louisa Shea is an assistant professor of French and comparative studies at the Ohio State University.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Jukes on December 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful read for anyone interested in the reception of the classics in modernity. O.k., that sounds dry. But this book is not. It starts with the stock image of the ill-clad Diogenes wandering the streets of Athens with lamp in hand, and then turns to Sloterdijk and Foucault in the 1980s independently and unexpectedly looking back to the ancient Cynics for a model for philosophy--and it asks: why? The book romps through everything in the middle, a wonderful passage through the 18th century, and ends up offering a compelling case for Diogenes' continued relevance, taking us much past Sloterdijk and Foucault.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a deep book, but engagingly written and very enjoyable to read. I found the book while doing some research on Diogenes of Sinope (a quote popped up on Google Books), bought it for kindle, and finished reading in a week or so. The beauty of this kind of work is that it illuminates connections in varied works (in multiple languages), all connected to our big human project: The Enlightenment. The classical Cynics injected such a potent (lived) philosophy into Western thought that it continues to be refashioned by generations of thinkers--and always, it seems, at the cost of leaving out some part of the philosophy that doesn't suit. The reader benefits by understanding well-crafted connections between intellectuals and The Enlightenment, reflections on classical thought, and is brought face-to-face with the biggest question facing our civilization: how can humans live together humanely?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not quite an easy read, nor an introduction for apprentice Cynics/dogs. But it is a guilty exercise in confirmation bias - Cynics at least have the honesty to say as much. This book confirms that we are on the right track as far as apprehending reality goes, and just gives credit where credit is due. Cynics have been vilified by both church and state for shamelessly cutting through their nonsense. This book does a great job redressing the damage.
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