23/04/2015 - History Lecture by Philipp Blom on Radical Enlightenment


23 Apr 2015

U-Residence, Groene Zaal, Generaal Jacqueslaan 271, 1050 Brussel

In 2012 Philipp Blom released the book A Wicked Company which tells the story of Baron Thierry d'Holbach’s Parisian salon, an epicenter of freethinking that brought together the greatest minds of the 18th century. Thinkers such as Denis Diderot, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, Horace Walpole, and Benjamin Franklin came together to discuss and develop a radical Enlightenment, so uncompromising and bold that its bracing, liberating, humanist vision has still not been fully realized. As acclaimed historian Philipp Blom shows, these thinkers’ analysis of our culture remains as valid as it was then, and has lost little of its potential to shock—or to force us to confront with new eyes debates about our society and its future, from our faith in the markets to issues such as euthanasia and migration.


18.30-19.00: Registration
19.00-19.10: Introduction by Herman Balthazar (Historian, Emeritus UGent) 
19.10-19:50: History lecture by Philipp Blom on Radical Enlightenment
19:50-20.15: Q&A
20.15-21.30: Reception with drinks and fingerfood


Participation is free, but registration is required? Click here for the online registration form.

Bios / Slides

Philipp Blom was born in 1970 in Hamburg and grew up in Detmold, in Germany. After university studies in Vienna and Oxford, he obtained a D.Phil in Modern History. He started writing at Oxford and published a novel as well as occasional journalism. After university, he worked in London as an editor, translator, writer and freelance journalist, contributing to newspapers, magazines and radio programmes in Great Britain, the US, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and France.

In 2001, Philipp Blom moved to Paris to concentrate on his books. In 2007 he settled in Vienna, where he continues to write historical nonfiction as well as fiction, and journalism. He presents a cultural discussion programme on Austrian national radio and has lectured on philosophy and cultural history in Europe, the US, and South America. He is married to Veronica Buckley, who is also a writer.

Herman Balthazar (Born in Ghent, 1938) received his Philosophical Degree at the University of Ghent in 1970, with research on political elites, 1770-1850. It was the first confrontation with the influence of the Radical Enlightenment in the growth of a modern industrial city. Balthazar started his career as a professor in Contemporary History at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel(1970-1973) and UGent (1974-2003). Today he is still involved as emeritus at the University of Ghent.
He is president-founder AMSAB-Institute for Social History (1980-2007) and up till today a member of the editorial Board of the review Brood & Rozen.
Herman Balthzar has also worked for the dailies Vooruit en De Morgen, and from 1980 to 1985 he was president of the board of BRT.
From 1985 to 2004 he was governor of the Province of East Flanders.