The Age of Genius The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/1/2016
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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The Age of Genius explores the eventful intertwining of outward event and inner intellectual life to tell, in all its richness and depth, the story of the 17th century in Europe. It was a time of creativity unparalleled in history before or since, from science to the arts, from philosophy to politics. Acclaimed philosopher and historian A.C. Grayling points to three primary factors that led to the rise of vernacular (popular) languages in philosophy, theology, science, and literature; the rise of the individual as a general and not merely an aristocratic type; and the invention and application of instruments and measurement in the study of the natural world.

Grayling vividly reconstructs this unprecedented era and breathes new life into the major figures of the seventeenth century intelligentsia who span literature, music, science, art, and philosophy--Shakespeare, Monteverdi, Galileo, Rembrandt, Locke, Newton, Descartes, Vermeer, Hobbes, Milton, and Cervantes, among many more. During this century, a fundamentally new way of perceiving the world emerged as reason rose to prominence over tradition, and the rights of the individual took center stage in philosophy and politics, a paradigmatic shift that would define Western thought for centuries to come.

Author Biography

A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society and is a prolific author whose books include philosophy, ethics, biography, history, drama and essays. He has been a regular contributor to the Times, Financial Times, the Observer, the Independent on Sunday, the Economist, the Literary Review, New Statesman, and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programs, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week, and CNN News. Among his recent books are Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggle for Liberty and Rights that Made the Modern West, Liberty in the Age of Terror, Descartes, The Good Book: A Secular Bible, and The God Argument.

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