Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English

Author(s): Jonathan Rée

Philosophy | Tim's picks

In Witcraft Jonathan Rée 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 Jonathan Rée'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.

FULLERS REVIEW - TIM


The history of philosophy, but not as you know it. This is clever, wry, amusing, and a little bit different: it tells the history of philosophy in the English language, beginning with translations of the great works into English (and the attendant difficulties of inventing a philosophical vocabulary in a language that lacked one), running through the great works of the British philosophers, and ending in the 20th Century.

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780141027418
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : 0.368317
  • : April 2020
  • : ---length:- '19.8'width:- '12.9'units:- Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 768