‘A witty, gossipy, sparkling history, full of bright jewels of anecdote… Magnificent Rebels is a triumph’ THE TIMES, Book of the Week
‘Extraordinary… A thrilling intellectual history that reads like a racy, intelligent novel, with a cast of unforgettable characters’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘Magnificent Rebels is a magnificent book: a revelation which could easily become an obsession’ SPECTATOR
‘A thrilling page-turner, by turns comical & tragic… My book of the year so far’ TOM HOLLAND
‘Elegantly written, deeply researched and totally gripping’ SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE
In the 1790s an extraordinary group of friends changed the world. Disappointed by the French Revolution’s rapid collapse into tyranny, what they wanted was nothing less than a revolution of the mind. The rulers of Europe had ordered their peoples how to think and act for too long. Based in the small German town of Jena, through poetry, drama, philosophy and science, they transformed the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. They were the first Romantics.
Their way of understanding the world still frames our lives and being.We’re still empowered by their daring leap into the self. We still think with their minds, see with their imagination and feel with their emotions. We also still walk the same tightrope between meaningful self-fulfilment and destructive narcissism, between the rights of the individual and our role as a member of our community and our responsibilities towards future generations who will inhabit this planet. This extraordinary group of friends changed our world. It is impossible to imagine our lives, thoughts and understanding without the foundation of their ground-breaking ideas.