Philosophic Pride


Links to reviews of my book, Philosophic Pride, will be posted here as they appear:

‘An eye-opening textual and intellectual analysis of the relation between Stoicism and early modern political thought.’

Davey Henreckson, Reforming Virtue, 13 September 2012.

‘It is one of the strengths of Christopher Brooke’s fascinating new study, Philosophic Pride, that he is aware of the multifarious nature of his subject; he knows that he is dealing with a fluid cluster of ideas and themes, not a unitary philosophical movement. Not that he has set out, in any case, to write a history of (Neo-)Stoicism; his task is both narrower and harder than that. The subject of this book is the relationship between Stoicism and early modern political thought; since there was scarcely such a thing as a worked-out body of Stoic political theory (unless we count Seneca’s fanciful portrayal of the monarchical ruler–Nero, of all people–extending the empire of reason), this means that an already elusive subject is considered here from a variety of oblique angles.’

Noel Malcolm, ‘Adventures of the Stoics’, Times Literary Supplement, no, 5713 (28 September 2012), p. 5.

‘I’m a little unsure whether Stoicism really is as powerful an interpretive lens as Brooke here seems to suggest but I, along with doubtless many others, will delight in taking up the provocative interpretive challenges Philosophic Pride lays down.’

Ross Carroll, Journal of Intellectual History and Political Thought, vol. 1, no. 1 (October 2012), pp. 257-60.

‘What makes the book such an important contribution to the burgeoning scholarship on classical reception in early modern Europe is that it offers a widely ranging, richly detailed answer to a broader question, namely, ‘Why has Neostoicism been held to be historically significant?’

Reid Barbour, Intellectual History Review, vol. 22, no. 4 (December 2012), pp. 543-5.

‘Brooke’s work doesn’t attempt the taut theoretical shadowboxing of the ‘History of Political Thought’, always with one eye to the present, nor does it seek to hew to the dominant political and cultural strains in the mainstream of contemporary historiography. Rather, he inhabits an older, looser tradition: the practice of close textual commentary as ‘intellectual history’. He has made a significant contribution towards filling in some important lacunae in our understanding of the relationships between ancient and modern thinking about morality and politics, and intervened deftly in a broad range of interdisciplinary debates on major figures in the history of practical ethics. These are achievements that will ensure this book is welcomed by scholars and general readers with all sorts of investments in his subject matter. They will also enjoy its sincere humanism and remarkable erudition.’

James Stafford, Cambridge Humanities Review, no. 2 (Michaelmas 2012), pp. 3-4.

Philosophic Pride belongs in every university library. It is a rather dense book covering a lot of thinkers and a lot of ideas in a fairly short space. It is, therefore, at times rather discursive, moving quickly between themes and minds. But oddly, not much is lost because of this, something I attribute to Brooke’s authoritative command of the material and his ability to write succinctly and with great clarity. His book was not what I expected but this is what makes it worth reading.’

Lisa Hill, ‘Classical stoicism and the western tradition’, Australian Review of Public Affairs, December 2012.

‘At the core of his study is the problem of human pride and the tensions with regard to original sin, which was denied in Stoic philosophy. The result is a sparkling book of which the theme is somewhat broader than the title may suggest.’

Erik De Bom, Renaissance Quarterly, March, 2013, pp. 246-8.

‘In this wide-ranging, perceptive, and elegant book, Christopher Brooke demonstrates both Stoicism’s appeal and ubiquity and the multiple ways in which it colored and entered into the controversies of European political thought… Everyone interested in the intellectual history of the era between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment has reason to be grateful for and to take cognizance of this book.’

Jonathan Israel, Perspectives on Politics, September 2013, pp. 923-4.

‘De grote verdienste van dit knappe boek is dat het voor het eerst laat zien hoe deze klassieke filosofie een lange weg door het vroegmoderne Europa heeft afgelegd.’

Wyger R. E. Velema, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 126 no. 4, pp. 591-2.

The publisher’s page for Philosophic Pride is here.

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