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Taming the Leviathan

by Jon Parkin

Thomas Hobbes is widely acknowledged as the most important political philosopher to have written in English. Originally published in 2007, Taming the Leviathan is a wide-ranging study of the English reception of Hobbes's ideas. In the first book-length treatment of the topic for over forty years, Jon Parkin follows the fate of Hobbes's texts (particularly Leviathan) and the development of his controversial reputation during the seventeenth century, revealing the stakes in the critical discussion of the philosopher and his ideas. Revising the traditional view that Hobbes was simply rejected by his contemporaries, Parkin demonstrates that Hobbes's work was too useful for them to ignore, but too radical to leave unchallenged. His texts therefore had to be controlled, their lessons absorbed and their author discredited. In other words the Leviathan had to be tamed. Taming the Leviathan significantly revised our understanding of the role of Hobbes and Hobbism in seventeenth-century England.

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