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Hope Without Optimism

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About the Author

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of Lancaster. He is the author, most recently, of Culture and the Death of God.


[A]n account of Christian hope that is at once alive to religious transcendence and committed to political emancipation.... [A] rich and lively examination of an overlooked yet much-needed virtue. --Modern Theology This is a scholarly book in many ways, and requires a clear and concentrated mind. However, Eagleton is not given to academic jargon and, like any good teacher, inserts regular doses of humor and skeptical asides. In conclusion, he underscores the necessity of hope for radical social and political change. --Shelf Awareness [A] witty and insightful tour of hope's complicated linguistic terrain that carefully avoids proposing some once-and-for-all grand Theory of Hope. --Commonweal This provocative book portrays hope as a virtue, a moral orientation that can be cultivated actively, a matter of will. The book also generates hope, validating Eagleton's conviction that hope is self-fulfilling. --Christian Century Optimism is woefully pre-programmed. What we need, the Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton argues in his most recent book, Hope without Optimism, is something deeper and more reason-responsive. Enter hope.... If hope is to be more than a campaign theme or an idle fantasy, it requires an awareness of the darker aspects of life than optimists realize. But as Eagleton rightly argues, though "justice may not flourish in the end, a life devoted to the pursuit of it remains a creditable one." --Los Angeles Review of Books For years now, Eagleton's work has been 'must-read' across the board. There are theological tomes on hope but nothing that cuts so cleanly and incisively across the disciplines of literary theory, Marxist theory, politics, and theology as does this work. The final chapter is not only a brilliant piece of theology; it is also a very moving essay on what we have to hope for: if not much, still, not nothing. And the difference between something and nothing is the only difference that finally matters. Eagleton shows why that is so. --Denys Turner, Yale University, author of Faith, Reason, and the Existence of God In our predicament every direct optimism is by definition a fake--the only bearers of true hope are those who dare to confront the abyss we are approaching. Hope without Optimism is the best formula of the authentic religion that fits our dark times. --Slavoj i ek, author of Living in the End Times

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