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Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English by [Jonathan Rée]

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Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 ratings

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Length: 746 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

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"Jonathan Rée 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. . . . Rée lets a hundred flowers bloom. He teaches us differences. Witcraft declines to trace a single royal road through redundant errors towards an irrefutable truth. It doesn’t stick to the same small handful of big ideas, eternally recurring in one mind after another . . . enjoy its riches slowly, and savour every generous, erudite and undogmatic page."—Boyd Tonkin, Financial Times

"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 . . . Rée’s book is stylish and entertaining."—Terry Eagleton, Guardian

"Rée 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. . . . Where the conventional tradition would have us look, reverentially, at a line of statues, he invites us to join in a pageant of loveable rogues."—Nakul Krishna, Daily Telegraph

"Rée’s book may well be the most fun we’ve ever had with anglophone philosophy . . . The French Maoist Alain Badiou once told me that English philosophy has its 'côté somnifère,' by which he meant it was yawnsomely dull. Rée’s book serves as a 750-page retort to that, 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

"Rée, 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

Witcraft is a new sort of history of philosophy. Each of its chapters covers fifty years and conveys how philosophy in England was regarded and practiced during that half-century, with the future an open book and the durability of the ideas originating in the period as yet undetermined. . . . A book that matches the verve and vivacity of its title.’—Jane O’Grady, Literary Review

“[This] lively chronicle of philosophy in English is a splendid accomplishment sufficient unto itself. Highly intelligent, always even-handed, quietly but consistently witty, Witcraft is an excellent guide along the twisted and tricky path of human thought.”—Wall Street Journal

“Jonathan Rée has written a different kind of book with Witcraft….The work is unique as a history of philosophy…[and] Rée doesn’t present the ideas of philosophers as a series of exhibit pieces….Rather, they’re the hard-struggled-for thoughts of people whose reputations and livelihoods were made and destroyed by their ideas.”—Ben Singleton, Frederick News-Post

“Jonathan Rée has given us a rich and engrossing story of ideas as lived and felt. His book mounts an invigorating challenge to conventional histories of philosophy, and deserves to become a classic.”—Leo Damrosch

“This book is an extraordinary achievement, a magnum opus in every sense, and remarkable in its combination of erudition and accessible prose. We will never be able to think of English philosophy in quite the same way again.”—David Wood, Vanderbilt University

“A superb achievement, Rée has written an exceptional book: adventurous in conception, finely argued, beautifully written and most of all, a major redefinition of the task of philosophy.”— Alain de Botton, on I See a Voice

“A fascinating, original, deeply suggestive work, written with haunting power and beauty.”—Ben Rogers, Financial Times, on 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

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Book Description

Spanning four centuries of philosophical thought in English, this ambitious history considers not only canonical authors but also the philosophical contributions of dozens of unremembered figures. Breaking away from high-altitude narratives, Rée shows how philosophy finds its way into ordinary lives, enriching and transforming them in unexpected ways.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
23 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2019
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Top international reviews

Gazza
5.0 out of 5 stars Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 15, 2019
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Richard Fairley
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry as Dust
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2019
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John Montgomery
5.0 out of 5 stars The invention of Philosophy in English.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 17, 2019
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Patrick Patton
5.0 out of 5 stars A pity he stops at 1951
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2019
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Fenella Copplestone
5.0 out of 5 stars Native craft of wit
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 24, 2019
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaing scholarly at same time a rare achievement
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 10, 2019
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