An exemplary collection of work from one of the world’s leading scholars of intellectual history.
“Földényi . . . stage[s] a broad metaphysical melodrama between opposites that he pursues throughout this fierce, provoking collection (expertly translated by Ottilie Mulzet). . . . He proves himself a brilliant interpreter of the dark underside of Enlightenment ambition.”—James Wood, New Yorker
László Földényi’s work, in the long tradition of public intellectual and cultural criticism, resonates with the writings of Montaigne, Walter Benjamin, and Thomas Mann. In this new essay collection, Földényi considers the continuing fallout from the collapse of religion, exploring how Enlightenment traditions have not replaced basic elements of previously held religious mythologies—neither their metaphysical completeness nor their comforting purpose. Realizing beautiful writing through empathy, imagination, fascination, and a fierce sense of justice, Földényi covers a wide range of topics including a meditation on the metaphysical unity of a sculpture group and an analysis of fear as a window into our relationship with time.