The Philosopher and the Provocateur

The Philosopher and the Provocateur : The Correspondence of Jacques Maritain and Saul Alinsky

By (author) Jacques Maritain , By (author) Saul David Alinsky , Volume editor Bernard E. Doering

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Far more telling than mere biography, this collection of the extant letters exchanged between philosopher Jacques Maritain and social activist Saul Alinsky reveals a deep and intimate friendship, however unexpected and unlikely. Indeed, to all who knew or knew of them the dignified, prominent philosopher and the earthy, truculent genius of social reform seemed antithetical to one another in almost every way. The Maritain-Alinsky correspondence began in 1945, shortly after they met, and continued until Alinsky's death in 1972. The tone and content of the letters vary widely, ranging from expressions of mutual admiration and friendship, to details of the triumphs and tragedies of their personal lives, to anguished considerations of death and immortality. In their letters Maritain and Alinsky offer each other personal expressions of strong mutual support - as well as judicious warnings and slightly apprehensive distancing - for the different works each had undertaken at various times in his respective careers. They also discuss the Catholic church, taking ironic jibes at clerical pomposity and exchanging praise of the socially aware. Though it is difficult to tell whether either man had a significant influence on the thought and work of the other, their correspondence attests that the philosopher and the provocateur, so different in personality, educational backgrounds, demeanor, and intellectual affinities, enjoyed a surprisingly intimate and extraordinary friendship. With context and interpretation of the letters provided by the editor, this intriguing collection of lively, moving letters not only reveals the depths of a most improbable friendship, it also goes far in exposing thehumanity behind the personas.

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  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 139.7 x 218.4 x 20.3mm | 385.56g
  • 31 Mar 1994
  • University of Notre Dame Press
  • Notre Dame IN
  • English
  • 0268038023
  • 9780268038021
  • 1,633,433

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