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The Life and Thought of Aurel Kolnai



ISBN 9781138728578
Published October 28, 2019 by Routledge
362 Pages

 
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Book Description

This title was first published in 2002: ’I sincerely believe that Dr Kolnai is one of the most original and stimulating thinkers in the field of political philosophy alive today.’ Karl Popper Kolnai's moral and political thought was developed against the background of Liberal and then Bolshevist revolutions in Hungary, the gradual move towards fascism in twenties and thirties Vienna, and the progress of the Second World War as seen from the USA. Born a Jew, he became a Roman Catholic, and lived successively in Hungary, Austria, France, the USA, Canada and England. He remained, throughout his extraordinary life, a passionate believer in reason and common sense, and the sworn enemy of all philosophical and political systems. Study of Kolnai has been hampered by political developments, his own peripatetic life, and the fact that his writings appeared in five different languages, yet interest in Kolnai is now growing. This book offers the first comprehensive picture of Kolnai's complete works and life. Dunlop presents Kolnai the man in his social and political setting, and offers an accessible exploration of all his writings, whether published or not, including translated passages from papers and letters in Kolnai's various languages. Including a selective bibliography of Kolnai's works, this book presents an important study of this unique political and moral philosopher, showing his relevance in contemporary philosophical thought.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Family and school (1900-1918); Political development (1916-1919); War, revolution and counter-revolution (1918-1920); Kolnai’s psychoanalytic episode (1920-1926); Early days in Vienna (1920-1924); University studies and related publications (1922-1930); Political journalism or philosophy? (1920-1930); Fighting for the west in Vienna (1930-1937); Peripatetic (1937-1940); New York and Boston (1940-1945); Quebec (1945-1955); England or Spain? (1952-1961); England - early difficulties (1958-1964); The last fifteen years (1958-1973); Appendix: Kolnai’s attitude to the Catholic faith; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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Reviews

’This is an extremely well-informed and interesting book; I share Dunlop's esteem for Kolnai.’ Roger Scruton ’The thing that is needed is a simple exposition of Kolnai's writings, emphasising not only their place in twentieth century philosophy but also their raison d'être as Kolnai's responses to the historic events of the twentieth century and the experiences of his own life amidst these events - this is what Dunlop has provided.’ David Wiggins '...a densely written and intriguing portrait of a brilliant, restless and acerbic Central European savant.' The Tablet 'Dr Dunlop must be congratulated on The Life and Thought of Aurel Kolnai...Here is an honest and demanding thinker who lost both his parents in World War II and lived a life of exile. For Christianity to flourish in the 21st century, we all have to think hard and take risks. Philosophy's central question, "What is the meaning of life?" is put to us all, whether we are old or young.' Church Times '... a substantial account of this most interesting person and significant philosopher and political commentator, which sets its subject firmly in the intellectual and political contexts of his varied life.' Appraisal 'It is an astonishingly meticulous, extraordinarily well-documented, simply but effectively structured, eloquently written biography, based on an extensive and thorough research.' Philosophy 'Francis Dunlop's excellent, painstakingly researched biography should restore Kolnai to his rightful place as an astute critic of modernity and its discontent.' Theological Studies '... Dunlop's biography will surely become the starting point for future studies of Kolnai'. Modern Age