An exemplary collection of work from one of the world’s leading scholars of intellectual history
László F. Földényi is a writer who is learned in reference, taste, and judgment, and entertaining in style. Taking a place in the long tradition of public intellectual and cultural criticism, his work resonates with that of Montaigne, Rilke, and Mann in its deep insight into aspects of culture that have been suppressed, yet still remain in the depth of our conscious.
In this new collection of essays, Földényi considers the fallout from the end of religion and how the traditions of the Enlightenment have replaced neither the metaphysical completeness nor the comforting purpose of the previously held mythologies. Combining beautiful writing with empathy, imagination, fascination, and a fierce sense of justice, Földényi covers a wide range of topics that include a meditation on the metaphysical unity of a sculpture group and an analysis of fear as a window into our relationship with time.
About the Author
László F. Földényi is professor and chair in the theory of art at the University of Theatre, Film, and Television, Budapest, and a member of the German Academy. He has written numerous award-winning books and lives in Budapest, Hungary. Ottilie Mulzet is an award-winning translator and literary critic.
“It is precisely Földényi’s approachable style, as well as Ottilie Mulzet’s impeccable translation, that makes this collection easily accessible to scholars and casual readers alike.”—Barbara Halla, Asymptote
“A collection of essays on why contemporary culture would do well to embrace transcendence . . . Perceptive meditations on humanity's need for spiritual nourishment.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A collection of thirteen essays that testify to Földényi’s erudition and masterful grasp of two millennia of European intellectual history . . . Intimate . . . Approachable . . . Easily accessible to scholars and casual readers alike.”—Barbara Halla, Asymptote
"Foldenyi's brilliant essay on Dostoyevsky reading Hegel is an essential meditation on history, civic responsibility and our ongoing responsibility towards others."—Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading
"It is a hallucinatory moment: Dostoyevsky, first condemned to death, then sent as a soldier to the endless emptiness of Siberia, where he reads Hegel’s thoughts about the abstract building of History, a building in which neither Siberia nor Africa can have a place, an unsentimental construction made of glass, with its holy ending the Weltgeist, in which all the personal suffering of mankind has disappeared. Laszlo Földenyi has written about this in such a way that you can feel the sacred shudder with him."—Cees Nooteboom