Treatise of Despair and Happiness
Presses Universitaires de France
Eighteen years after its first release in two separate volumes, while writer-philosopher André Comte-Sponville was still just a brilliant student, Traité du désespoir et de la béatitude is available once again this time in one volume. Divided into two treatises, entitled the “Myth of Icarus” and “To Live”, Traité du désespoir et de la béatitude calls for the necessity to invent a new kind of wisdom, a materialist wisdom without despair. Flirting with Epicurius, Spinoza, Buddha, and others Comte-Sponville defines a wise materialist person as someone who believes in happiness but instead of hoping for happiness to show up, he/she rips it at the root of life itself and pursues it for the rest of his/her life, in a constant fight for happiness and no need to hope. He emphasizes the need to accept reality and refuse any kind of illusion “to hope a little less and to love a little more.” This is an amazingly refreshing definition of wisdom and happiness as well as a fascinating philosophical treatise in a style accessible to the general public.
André Comte-Sponville : One of the most important French philosophers of the “new wave”, André Comte-Sponville is a professor at the Sorbonne and the author of several highly acclaimed works of classical philosophy. He was critically acclaimed in the U.S. for his Small Treatise on the Great Virtues recently published by Metropolitan Books.