Elisabeth Lasch-QuinnDec 28, 2020
The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living
Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is a professor of history at Syracuse University. Her new book Ars Vitae: The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Art of Living (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) provides a cultural critique that connects the most pressing needs of the individual in modern society to the insights of the ancient approach to philosophy as a way of life. The wisdom of the ancients offers a way to cultivate an inner life as an alternative to therapeutic culture of self-help and consumerism. Beginning with how Gnosticism has reemerged in new forms, she explores how the ideas of the Stoics, Epicureans, Cynics and Platonism show up in our attempts to live more meaningful lives and gain a sense of well-being. Lasch-Quinn dives into the reflections of major twentieth-century thinkers who have thought about these connections, but also to expressions in self-help books and films. She shows us how we are both inheritors and betrayers of the lost art of living and a possible way forward.
Lilian Calles Barger is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her most recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her current writing project is on the intellectual history of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir.