A Literary Sorel: ‘Dirempting’ a Fin de Siècle Moralist
How far from the optimism of eighteenth-century philosophes and their nineteenth-century heirs ought we to let the disasters of twentieth-century European history push us? An encounter with the profoundly pessimistic socio-political theoretician Georges Sorel can help us gauge that. But in assessing Sorelian thought, we ought to adopt the same analytical strategy he himself prescribed when approaching complex and multi-faceted subjects: a deliberately partial, indirect approach he called 'diremption'. This diremption of Sorelian morality addresses his concepts of 'work' and 'love' specifically; and it accesses them not directly, through his own works, but indirectly, through fictional works he found particularly meaningful: Daniel Halevy's science-fiction novel History of Four Years and Paul Claudel's verse drama The Hostage.
History; Business, Politics and Security Studies
History of Political Thought
Cerullo, J. J. “A Literary Sorel: ‘Dirempting’ a Fin de Siècle Moralist,” History of Political Thought Winter 2003