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Search for Self in Other in Cicero, Ovid, Rousseau, Diderot and Sartre

Gregory, Mary Efrosini

Search for Self in Other in Cicero, Ovid, Rousseau, Diderot and Sartre

Series: Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures - Volume 197

Year of Publication: 2011

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 207 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1595-0 hb.  (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-4539-0186-1 (eBook)

Weight: 0.420 kg, 0.926 lbs

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Book synopsis

Search for Self in Other in Cicero, Ovid, Rousseau, Diderot and Sartre examines how these five theorists recognized that searching for self in an idealized other can lead to a variety of perversions. Cicero warned against seeking friends whom we regard as being everything that we are not: he advised to first be a good person and then to seek other. Ovid showed that Narcissus, who had no close friends to reinforce his identity, was oblivious to his own assets and tried to live vicariously through other. Rousseau explained why modern man, while seated in a theater, feels compassion and is transported by pity, anxiety and fear for the welfare of fictional characters as if it were his own. Diderot showed how the absence of self can be exploited by the powerful to reshape the minds of the weak. He proves that given the right environment and length of time, any one of us, like the victims in The Nun, could just as easily have his life ruined. Sartre reminds us that it is impossible to be-in-exterior. We see ourselves according to the way that others perceive us based on conditioning and prejudices. Sartre untangles the snarled web of misperception of self that arises from «the look» of the other.
This book addresses man’s growing understanding of the death of self in the mirror of other across the corridors of time – from Narcissus’ ancient pool, to Cicero’s Roman forum, to Rousseau’s Parisian theater, to Diderot’s convent in The Nun, to Sartre’s twentieth-century hell.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Mary Efrosini Gregory received her BA and MA in French from Queens College and her M.Phil. in French from Columbia University. She is the author of Diderot and the Metamorphosis of Species (2007), An Eastern Orthodox View of Pascal (2008), Evolutionism in Eighteenth-Century French Thought (2008), Miracles of the Orthodox Church (2009), Freedom in French Enlightenment Thought (2010) and Microwave Experiment: A True Story of Government Testing on a United States Customs Officer (2011). Three other books, Microwave War: The Government’s Preparation for the Police State and Extension of Empire, The Science behind Microwave War, and Christianity and Twenty-First Century Science, are in the prepublication stage.

Series

Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures. Vol. 197
General Editors: Michael G. Paulson and Tamara Alvarez-Detrell