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Intellectuals (1988)

de Paul Johnson

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1,3171511,508 (3.89)4
Do the private practices of intellectuals match the standard of their public principles? How great is their respect for truth? What is their attitude to money? How do they treat their spouses and children - legitimate and illegitimate? How loyal are they to their friends? Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sartre, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Lillian Hellman, Cyril Connolly, Norman Mailer, Kenneth Tynan and many others are put under the spotlight. With wit and brilliance, Paul Johnson exposes these intellectuals, and questions whether ideas should ever be valued more than individuals.… (més)
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Anglès (12)  Francès (1)  Hebreu (1)  Totes les llengües (14)
Es mostren 1-5 de 14 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Spoiler alert: he doesn't like them. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
the rise of the intellectual as guiding class and individual lives and faults
  ritaer | Jun 17, 2020 |
Other than saying I loved reading this book, while also being exasperated by what felt like increasingly dishonest authorial motivation, I'll let two of the critical blurbs contained in the volume speak for me. (I've no clue how to rate this with stars.)

From Publishers Weekly: "These pummeling profiles of illustrious intellectuals are caustic, skewed, thought-provoking, and thoroughly engaging."

From Christopher Hitchens: "On every page there is something low, sniggering, mean, and eavesdropped from third-hand."
  KatrinkaV | Apr 14, 2019 |
I'm giving this title 3 stars, not because it isn't a good read -- it's very lively and entertaining. I'm just not sure why Paul Johnson wrote it, unless he had a lot of material left over from other books and wanted to work it up into something. That famous writers and thinkers down through the ages have behaved badly isn't exactly news, at least not to historians.

His selection of subjects is a little uneven. While Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx were definitely important intellectual and cultural forces, many of the other writers profiled here (Norman Mailer, Lillian Hellman) seem more like products of existing cultural trends, rather than creators of them.

To sum up, Intellectuals is good gossipy fun, but I'm not sure the author succeeds in making a point. ( )
  AstonishingChristina | Jun 26, 2018 |
Can one invalidate ideas by pointing out the inconsistencies between the ideas and the lives of the famous philosophers/writers/thinkers with which the ideas are associated ? Paul Johnson believes this is so.

You learn about our cultural heros/icons: all their sexual shadows, vanities, obsessive acts, lies, self-centered/ego-maniacal behaviors, inabilities to care or love or have any human feelings. The book is more a slander sheet than a set of arguments. But if you want to know the sins of Rousseau, Hemingway, Ibsen,Russell, Brecht, Sartre, and more, read on. I did.

BTW Johnson starts to salivate with joy when he talks of the conservative thoughts of some of these folks. It seems that he wants to obliterate everything that has happened in the past 200 years and return us to a free market, traditional society.
Fun to read. ( )
  kerns222 | May 25, 2018 |
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Over the past two hundred years the influence of intellectuals has grown steadily.
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Do the private practices of intellectuals match the standard of their public principles? How great is their respect for truth? What is their attitude to money? How do they treat their spouses and children - legitimate and illegitimate? How loyal are they to their friends? Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Ibsen, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Brecht, Sartre, Edmund Wilson, Victor Gollancz, Lillian Hellman, Cyril Connolly, Norman Mailer, Kenneth Tynan and many others are put under the spotlight. With wit and brilliance, Paul Johnson exposes these intellectuals, and questions whether ideas should ever be valued more than individuals.

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