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Humanly Possible: The great humanist experiment in living (Paperback)
  • Humanly Possible: The great humanist experiment in living (Paperback)
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Humanly Possible: The great humanist experiment in living (Paperback)

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Paperback 464 Pages
Published: 21/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

From Erasmus to Zora Neale Hurston and beyond, this invaluable repository of humanist wisdom from the author of How to Live celebrates rational enquiry, freedom of thought and fellow-feeling in its highest forms.

The bestselling, prizewinning author of How to Live and At the Existentialist Café explores the great tradition of humanist writers, thinkers, scientists and artists, all trying to understand what it means to be truly human.

If you are reading this, you may already be a humanist. Even if you don't know it.

Do you love literature and the arts? Do you have a strong moral compass despite not being formally religious? Do you simply believe that individual lives are more important than grand political visions? If any of these apply, you are part of a long tradition of humanist thought.

In Humanly Possible Sarah Bakewell asks what humanism is and why it has flourished for so long. By introducing us to the adventurous lives and ideas of famous humanists through 700 years of history, she shows how the humanist values that helped steer us through dark times in the past are just as urgently needed in our world today.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781529924626
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 367 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

In this exhilarating handbook Sarah Bakewell explains that a humanist philosopher is one who puts the whole living person at the centre of things . . . Bakewell finishes this bracing book by urging us to draw inspiration from these earlier men and women as we try hard to live bravely and humanly in what sometimes seems like an aridly abstract and loveless world - Sunday Times

A story of spiritual and intellectual triumph... An epic, spine-tingling and persuasive work of history - Daily Telegraph

As in her previous books on Montaigne and the Existentialists, Bakewell manages to transform raw material into prose that is light and clear . . . she carefully selects only the most interesting and revealing details . . . Bakewell exemplifies the thirst for life and learning of humanism at its best - Literary Review

Engagingly written as well as richly informative . . . every thinker, every book, every movement is located lightly and precisely in relation to its past and its influence on the present day. I can't imagine a better history of humanism, nor one that is so vividly persuasive. Bakewell is a wonderful writer - PHILIP PULLMAN

An expansive tour of European humanism... Bakewell brings out sharply how much contrarian courage it took to stand up for secularism... These dangers are not a thing of the past... Humanism is not just a hard-won victory, as Sarah Bakewell documents, but a fragile one, threatened by theocracy and neo-facism, by politicians for whom the point of education is entirely economic, and by movements that aspire to leave humanity behind - Kieran Setiya, Times Literary Supplement

I've long admired Sarah Bakewell's extraordinary talent for breathing life into philosophy, making vivid the historical circumstances that give birth to new ideas. And this book is her best yet - a fascinating, moving, funny, sometimes harrowing and ultimately uplifting account of humanity's struggle to understand and fully inhabit the state of being human - OLIVER BURKEMAN, author of Four Thousand Weeks

Humanly Possible skilfully combines philosophy, history and biography. She is scholarly yet accessible, and portrays people and ideas with vitality and without anachronism, making them affecting and alive - Jane O'Grady, Guardian

Impressively comprehensive... A highly engaging work - Hannah Beckerman, Observer

Bakewell has a contagious enthusiasm for many of these likeable figures . . . a jolly and readable skate through a large swathe of philosophical thought and practical endeavour - Philip Hensher, Spectator

As she romps through the centuries, readers will feel assured that they are in the company of a gifted guide - The Economist

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