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

Paperback with French flaps | 2017 | $22.95 | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780691168692
192 pp. | 7 x 10 | 173 color illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400884650 |
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Introduction[PDF] pdf-icon

A Q&A with Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler

Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy Book Trailer

An entertaining, enlightening, and humorous graphic narrative of the dangerous thinkers who laid the foundation of modern thought

This entertaining and enlightening graphic narrative tells the exciting story of the seventeenth-century thinkers who challenged authority—sometimes risking excommunication, prison, and even death—to lay the foundations of modern philosophy and science and help usher in a new world. With masterful storytelling and color illustrations, Heretics! offers a unique introduction to the birth of modern thought in comics form—smart, charming, and often funny.

These contentious and controversial philosophers—from Galileo and Descartes to Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Newton—fundamentally changed the way we look at the world, society, and ourselves, overturning everything from the idea that the Earth is the center of the cosmos to the notion that kings have a divine right to rule. More devoted to reason than to faith, these thinkers defended scandalous new views of nature, religion, politics, knowledge, and the human mind.

Heretics! tells the story of their ideas, lives, and times in a vivid new way. Crisscrossing Europe as it follows them in their travels and exiles, the narrative describes their meetings and clashes with each other—as well as their confrontations with religious and royal authority. It recounts key moments in the history of modern philosophy, including the burning of Giordano Bruno for heresy, Galileo's house arrest for defending Copernicanism, Descartes's proclaiming cogito ergo sum, Hobbes's vision of the "nasty and brutish" state of nature, and Spinoza's shocking Theological-Political Treatise.

A brilliant account of one of the most brilliant periods in philosophy, Heretics! is the story of how a group of brave thinkers used reason and evidence to triumph over the authority of religion, royalty, and antiquity.

Steven Nadler is the William H. Hay II Professor of Philosophy and Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His books include Spinoza: A Life, which won the Koret Jewish Book Award, and Rembrandt's Jews, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Madison. Ben Nadler is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and an illustrator. He lives in Chicago. Follow him on Instagram at @bennadlercomics.

Reviews:

"As the title suggests, this book seldom has a dull moment. . . . In the bright panels that lay out a who’s who of European philosophers [Heretics!] adopts a very simple but beautiful visual and textual format. . . . It’s a wonderful addition to the tradition of graphic nonfiction, and readers should be able to breeze through it."--Publishers Weekly

"Bring[s] both entertainment and enlightenment to the subject of how modern philosophical thought challenged the church's doctrine on the relationship between God and man and led to democratic challenges to monarchy and the divine right of kings. . . . Nimbly advance[s] through a little more than a century in fewer than 200 pages, presenting a primer that can instruct those new to the period while serving as a refresher for readers who have forgotten what they studied in history and philosophy."--Kirkus

"A quick introduction to the basic figures and concepts of modern philosophy as it was developed in the 17th century. René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Baruch Spinoza, and other philosophers pop up to discuss, and sometimes argue, about the nature of matter, the existence of God, mind-body dualism, the structure of society, and even the existence of knowledge itself. The authors use quotes from the philosophers themselves and quickly place them in historical context, and the lively illustrations keep the narrative from getting bogged down."--Brigid Alverson, School Library Journal

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