London and New York: Geoffrey Bles/Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954. Early edition. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. Small bookseller's label to rear pastedown, minor edge-wear and toning to spine of unclipped dust jacket. Very good indeed. Item #591
Mid-century American edition of a series of pre-war lectures by Jacques Maritain, an exploration of the relationship between the human person and the modern world. This philosophical analysis of culture was originally delivered at the University of Santander in the summer of 1936 and first published in 1938 (translated by M.R. Adamson). This edition was issued when Maritain was in-residence teaching at Princeton University, regarded as "the premiere writer, teacher, and exemplar of the Roman Catholic tradition—not just in philosophy but in aesthetics, literary criticism, and, if to a lesser degree, political theory—for American Catholicism in the 1950s." (Kevin Starr, The Lost World). Grounded in Neo-Thomist philosophy, Maritain characterizes true humanism as a theocentric—rather than anthropocentric—orientation. The only true way for man to find himself is to first seek God. "Maritain proposed a 'true humanism' rooted in rich appeciation both of the person, a term that took on a more precise notion in his work and in subsequent Catholic social reflection, and of society as 'personalist and communitarian.'" (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). Maritain's relationship between the human person and the State exerted a post-war influence on both Paul VI and John Paul II. The book is composed of a brief Foreword (dated "25th April, 1936"), a short Introduction ("Heroism and Humanism") and seven chapters: I. The Tragedy of Humanism, II. A New Humanism, III. The Christian and the World, IV. The Historical Ideal of a New Christian Order, V. The Historical Ideal of a New Christian Order (continued), VI. The Historical Possibilities of the Realisation of a New Christendom, VII. The More Immediate Future. A short two-part Appendix ("Planes of Action") follows the main text. First published in 1938 (and translated by M.R. Adamson), this American edition is composed of sheets from the British edition, bound and jacketed for distribution in the United States by Scribner's.