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The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy
Steven Nadler & Ben Nadler

Book Description
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Being a philosopher in the 17th century was a dangerous career choice. At odds with the Catholic church, Western philosophy found itself in a precarious position that would sometimes end in violence. Written by the father-son team Steven and Ben Nadler, the comic book aims to turn the trials of early scientific thought into a riveting graphic narrative. With the help of colorful illustrations and jokes, the duo is able to make complicated philosophical ideas easier to digest for a larger group of readers as well as offer up plenty of drama."--Mental Floss

"A remarkable new book. . . . Thanks to Princeton, we now have philosophy delivered in graphic form. . . . The Nadlers, father and son, have given us an informed but light-hearted look at the heaviest subjects: God, man and the cosmos. It’s engaging, like much graphic work, and altogether accessible."--Robert Fulford, National Post

"The art is the best thing about Heretics!, which traces the connections among influential 17th-century European philosophers. Most of the book’s humor comes from the relationship between the lofty ideas expressed and the goofy situations."--Book Riot

"Heretics! is an excellent read that will not only teach you a bit about modern philosophy, but will also put a smile on your face. . . . I recommend this graphic novel to anyone interested in learning a bit more about the history of modern philosophy that doesn’t involve delving into tomes like Meditations, Ethics, or Leviathan."--Comic Bastards

"Fascinating."--Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist

"With its delightful visuals and simplistic way of presenting complex topics, Heretics! has what it takes to become a classic, or even better yet--pioneer a new literary genre. It’s extremely rare to come across a book that’s innovative in form as well as in content, but I think Heretics! just deserves those accolades. Masterfully mixing a comic book style with complex notions from science and philosophy, Heretics! manages to charm and educate at the same time, and it does all this in style."--Mihai Andrei, ZME Science

"Take your beach reading a step further with this graphic novel about the 17th-century Western philosophers who bravely said ‘nah’ to the status quo set by that era’s religions and royal leaders. Written and illustrated by the father-son team Steven and Ben Nadler, this interesting and funny graphic novel dives into the backstories of historical powerhouses, including Galileo, Baruch Spinoza, and John Locke. It’s the ‘birth of modern thought’ via comics, and you’ll become an expert on this time period without realizing it by the time you’re through."--Sarah Sloat, Inverse (Smart Science Beach Reads)

"In this telling of the story of modern philosophy, esteemed historian of philosophy Steven Nadler . . . teams with his son, illustrator Ben Nadler, to turn these complex theories into a visual journey through the history of ideas. . . . Ben Nadler’s art is colorful and expressive, and he has taken some pains to make these figures look like their ‘classic’ depictions from historical art."--PopMatters

"In yet another example of sequential art’s awesome versatility, the Nadlers, an award-winning philosophy professor father (Spinoza; Rembrandt’s Jews) and his illustrator son, take on the heady subject of 17th-century Western European philosophy, producing a primer that clearly explains oft-complex ideas with accessible prose and colorful, witty artwork. . . . The creators bring the great thinkers face-to-face to debate, using colloquialisms and anachronisms to hilarious effect, and demonstrate where they agreed and differed, thus reviewing the material for readers rather than forcing them to go back and reread previous pertinent pages. In the Nadlers’ capable hands, seminal philosophy and the graphic novel combine in serious fun for the learned and laypeople alike."--Library Journal, starred review

"Team Nadler manage to convey complex information economically and wittily, in large part thanks to the images which are more than mere illustration. [Ben] Nadler gives us genuinely visual metaphors. . . . An impressive overview."--Adam Ferner, Daily Nous

"For those of us who hope to revive in memory what our liberal arts educations were supposed to leave us with for life, it is with pleasure that I can say that [Steve and Ben Nadler] have collaborated on a fine formula in which the narrative zip (and overall entertainment value) of the cartoon format lend critical aid to the project of introducing--or reintroducing--readers to philosophy’s revolutionary era. . . . And we are given that friendly nudge to familiarize ourselves with these people, not only to grasp how we arrived at our way of comprehending and being in the world, but to keep on questioning."--Peter Lewis, Barnes & Noble Review

"An entertaining book that will keep the interest of all readers. . . . The color illustrations keep the text moving at a brisk pace. The authors are excellent story tellers. . . . An enjoyable read for any science teacher. The engaging nature of the stories makes it easy for the reader to learn about the ideas and stories of the philosophers and scientists who laid the groundwork for our modern world. Teachers could also use this book to help students understand the origins of our modern scientific thinking."--Thomas Brown, NSTA Recommends

"An excellent book which gives the reader a concise and chronological history of philosophy from the 17th century. The story by Seven Nadler, is definitely written with passion, as his love for these subjects shines through every panel. The art by Ben Nadler, is vibrant and gorgeous."--Graphic Policy

"Steven and Ben Nadler (philosopher and illustrator) aren't the first to locate the birth of the modern world in the 17th century, but they're possibly the first to do it in comic-book form. The result is an informed and entertaining beginner's guide through the most revolutionary century in the history of ideas: dangerous ones, forged in a violent time, that clashed with the dictates of the Catholic church in such a way that when they'd finished (Galileo, Descartes, Newton etc) ordinary people looked at the world in a truly modern way."--Steven Carroll, Sydney Morning Herald

"A fantastic graphic historical recording of the evolution and emergence of philosophic thought during the 17th century. Skillfully sketched and painted in antique colors, the graphic scenes themselves depict the background intrigues that enrich the commentaries."--Aron Row, San Francisco Book Review

"Entertaining and thoughtful. . . . If you’re already familiar with 17th-century philosophy, Heretics! is a delightful refresher; if you’re not, it’s a fine introduction."--Dianne Timblin, American Scientist

"An excellent book which gives the reader a concise and chronological history of philosophy from the 17th century. The story by Seven Nadler, is definitely written with passion, as his love for these subjects shine through every panel. The art by Ben Nadler, is vibrant and gorgeous."--Graphic Policy


"With its engaging, playful graphics, Heretics! combines narrative immediacy, intimacy, and warmth, reminding us that philosophy and history are alive, and bringing abstract and complex ideas back down to earth--faithfully, concisely, and wittily."—Ivan Brunetti, author of Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice

"The revolutionary beginnings of modern thought are brought vividly and amusingly to life in this masterful and entertaining book."--Anthony Gottlieb, author of The Dream of Enlightenment

"Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler’s graphic exploration of the thinkers of the seventeenth century is brimming with information concisely expressed, and the illustrations add an extra dimension of irreverent wit to the text, truly earning it its proud title of Heretics!"--Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away

"Heretics! is a triumph of modern comic art. It will be widely read by those of any age seeking a way into the vast and many-sided transition to modern thought and life."--Paul Buhle, coeditor of Wobblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World

"Heretics! is very charming, with a zippy, whimsical text and attractive illustrations."--Daniel Garber, editor of The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy

"Leading historian of philosophy Steven Nadler and gifted artist Ben Nadler have created a wonderful book."--Eric Schliesser, author of Sympathy: A History

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File created: 9/19/2017

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