The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times

The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times cover

The Visionaries: Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil, and the Power of Philosophy in Dark Times

By  Wolfram Eilenberger , Translated by  Shaun Whiteside
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A soaring intellectual narrative starring the radical, brilliant, and provocative philosophers Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, and Ayn Rand by the critically acclaimed author of Time of the Magicians, Wolfram Eilenberger

The period from 1933 to 1943 was one of the darkest and most chaotic in human history, as the Second World War unfolded with unthinkable cruelty. It was also a crucial decade in the dramatic, intersecting lives of some of history’s greatest philosophers. There were four women, in particular, whose parallel ideas would come to dominate the twentieth century—at once in necessary dialogue and in striking contrast with one another.

Simone de Beauvoir, already in a deep emotional and intellectual partnership with Jean-Paul Sartre, was laying the foundations for nothing less than the future of feminism. Born Alisa Rosenbaum in Saint Petersburg, Ayn Rand immigrated to the United States in 1926 and was honing one of the most politically influential voices of the twentieth century. Her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged would reach the hearts and minds of millions of Americans in the decades to come, becoming canonical libertarian texts that continue to echo today among Silicon Valley’s tech elite. Hannah Arendt was developing some of today’s most important liberal ideas, culminating with the publication of The Origins of Totalitarianism and her arrival as a peerless intellectual celebrity. Perhaps the greatest thinker of all was a classmate of Beauvoir’s: Simone Weil, who turned away from fame to devote herself entirely to refugee aid and the resistance movement during the war. Ultimately, in 1943, she would starve to death in England, a martyr and true saint in the eyes of many.

Few authors can synthesize gripping storytelling with sophisticated philosophy as Wolfram Eilenberger does. The Visionaries tells the story of four singular philosophers—indomitable women who were refugees and resistance fighters—each putting forward a vision of a truly free and open society at a time of authoritarianism and war.

Wolfram Eilenberger is an internationally bestselling author and philosopher. He is the founding editor of Philosophie Magazin and hosts the television program Sternstunde Philosophie on the Swiss public broadcasting network SRF. In 2018, he published Time of the Magicians in Germany. The book instantly became a bestseller there, as well as in Italy and Spain, and won the prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger in France. It has been translated into thirty languages. Eilenberger has been a prolific contributor of essays and articles to many publications, among them Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, and El País. He has taught at the University of Toronto, Indiana University Bloomington, and Berlin University of the Arts, among other schools.

Shaun Whiteside is a prize-winning translator of fiction and nonfiction from German, French, Italian, and Dutch. He also translated Wolfram Eilenberger's Time of the Magicians.

ISBN: 9780593297452

ISBN-10: 9780593297452

Publisher: Penguin Press

Publication Date: 08/01/2023 - 12:00am

On Sale: 08/01/2023 - 12:00am

Pages: 400

Language: English

Categories

History / Europe

Philosophy / History & Surveys / Modern

Biography & Autobiography / Philosophers