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Jacques & Raissa Maritain: Beggars for Heavenby Jean-luc Barre
Synopses & Reviews
This award-winning book, written by Jean-Luc Barré at the request of the Maritain Archives in Kolbsheim, France, and published in France in 1995, was the first biography of noted French philosopher Jacques Maritain and his wife Raïssa. Drawing on the wealth of Maritain materials at the Kolbsheim archives, many of which are unpublished, Barré offers a clear and objective account of the remarkable lives and intellectual pursuits of the Maritains. Noted scholar and translator Bernard Doering has now made this essential work available for the first time in English.
Jacques and Raïssa Maritain: Beggars for Heaven focuses not only on the Maritains' philosophical work, but also on their pursuit of social justice, their opposition to the Vichy, their battle against intellectual repression in the church, and their contemplative life of prayer and devotion. Barré places a particular emphasis on the Maritains' close and supportive friendships with novelists, poets, painters, and musicians who were considered revolutionary at the time. Doering's translation will appeal not only to scholars but also to anyone interested in intellectual history generally and the intellectual history of modern Catholicism in particular.
Reviews of the French Edition:
"With respect and admiration . . . doing the work of a historian as well as a biographer, Jean-Luc Barré has spun out the life thread of the Maritains. Above all he has found, between the history of the century and the personal history of this couple, a very just balance. . . . From every point of view, from the multiplicity and the complexity of the historical figures of the Maritains-from the most intimate aspects to their outward 'engagements'-the biography furnishes all the necessary information. It puts into relief the line of force which dominates and orders this life."
"Few French intellectuals have had in the world, and while they were still alive, as much influence as Jacques Maritain. . . . The work of Jean-Luc Barré lets us reconstitute the itinerary of these beggars from heaven, in part philosophers, in part mystics. . . . [It offers] finely chiseled portraits . . . and an encyclopedic knowledge of that world of yesterday which we forget so readily."
About the Author
JEAN-LUC BARRÉ, a journalist and historian, is the author of several books, including Le Seigneur-Chat: Philippe Berthelot, 1866-1934.
BERNARD E. DOERING is professor emeritus in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame.
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