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The shipwrecked mind : on political reaction

Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, [2016]
Series: New York review book.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"We don't understand the reactionary mind. As a result, argues Mark Lilla in this timely book, the ideas and passions that shape today's political dramas are unintelligible to us. The reactionary is anything but a conservative. He is as radical and modern a figure as the revolutionary, someone shipwrecked in the rapidly changing present, and suffering from nostalgia for an idealized past and an apocalyptic fear that  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Lilla, Mark.
Shipwrecked mind.
New York : New York Review Books, [2016]
(DLC) 2016019342
Named Person: Franz Rosenzweig; Eric Voegelin; Leo Strauss
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Mark Lilla
ISBN: 9781590179024 1590179021
OCLC Number: 947190932
Description: xxi, 145 pages ; 21 cm.
Contents: Introduction. The shipwrecked mind --
Thinkers. The battle for religion: Franz Rosenzweig --
The immanent eschaton: Eric Voegelin --
Athens and Chicago: Leo Strauss --
Currents. From Luther to Walmart --
From Mao to Saint Paul --
Events. Paris, January 2015 --
Afterword. The knight and the caliph.
Series Title: New York review book.
Responsibility: Mark Lilla.

Abstract:

"We don't understand the reactionary mind. As a result, argues Mark Lilla in this timely book, the ideas and passions that shape today's political dramas are unintelligible to us. The reactionary is anything but a conservative. He is as radical and modern a figure as the revolutionary, someone shipwrecked in the rapidly changing present, and suffering from nostalgia for an idealized past and an apocalyptic fear that history is rushing toward catastrophe. And like the revolutionary his political engagements are motived by highly developed ideas. Lilla unveils the structure of reactionary thinking, beginning with three twentieth-century philosophers--Franz Rosenzweig, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss --who attributed the problems of modern society to a break in the history of ideas and promoted a return to earlier modes of thought. He then examines the enduring power of grand historical narratives of betrayal to shape political outlooks ever since the French Revolution. These narratives are employed to serve different, and sometimes expressly opposed, ends. They appear in the writings of Europe's right-wing cultural pessimists and Maoist neocommunists, American theoconservatives fantasizing about the harmony of medieval Catholic society and radical Islamists seeking to restore a vanished Muslim caliphate. The revolutionary spirit that inspired political movements across the world for two centuries may have died out. But the spirit of reaction that rose to meet it has survived and is proving just as formidable a historical force. We live in an age when the tragicomic nostalgia of Don Quixote for a lost golden age has been transformed into a potent and sometimes deadly weapon. Mark Lilla helps us to understand why"--

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