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The Visionaries : Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil and the Salvation of Philosophy - Wolfram Eilenberger

The Visionaries

Arendt, Beauvoir, Rand, Weil and the Salvation of Philosophy

By: Wolfram Eilenberger

Hardcover | 7 November 2023 | Edition Number 1

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An enthralling intellectual adventure, starring the four women who created new ways of thinking from the ruins of totalitarianism and war, by the acclaimed author of Time of the Magicians

The year is 1933. Hannah Arendt escapes Berlin, seeking refuge among the stateless gathering in Paris. Simone de Beauvoir reimagines the dance between consciousness and the world outside in a Rouen cafe. Ayn Rand labours in Hollywood exile on the novel she believes destined to reignite the flame of liberty in her adoptive nation. Simone Weil, disenchanted with the revolution's course in Russia, devotes her entire being to the plight of the oppressed. Over the next decade, one of the darkest in Europe's history, these four philosophers will conceive in parallel ideas that would circle the globe in the second half of the century, reshaping it.

The Visionaries follows in its protagonists' footsteps from Leningrad to New York, Spain at civil war to France under occupation, as each is uprooted by totalitarianism's ascendence. It shows them facing the injustices, unfreedom and unfathomable violence of their time as women, refugees, activists, resistance fighters - but above all as thinkers. Wolfram Eilenberger expertly distils the radical, brilliant philosophies each lived as well as developed, showing the two to be part of the same story, all testament to thought's redemptive power.

About the Author

Wolfram Eilenberger is a founding editor of Philosophie Magazin and host of the Sternstunde Philosophie television programme. He has taught philosophy at the University of Toronto, Indiana University, the Berlin University of the Arts and ETH Z rich. His most recent book, Time of the Magicians, was a runaway bestseller on publication in Germany, where it won the prestigious Bayerischer Buchpreis, as well as in Spain and Italy, and has been translated into more than thirty languages.
Industry Reviews
This book demands close attention; it rewards rereading; it tackles big ideas unapologetically. In short, Eilenberger treats you like a grown-up ... This is a wonderful book -- Laura Hackett * The Sunday Times *

In his enjoyable book, Eilenberger manages to convey not only his characters' complicated lives but the convoluted flow of their endlessly agitated minds ... the ceaseless intellectual questing of all four makes for fascinating reading. -- Caroline Moorehead * Guardian *

This new book does something better: illuminates the times through which these philosophers developed their ideas - and vice versa - often drawing poignant parallels and discontinuities between the women -- Stuart Jeffries * Observer *

All four women walked on the outside of power, politics, and philosophy, which is why their vision of what the world had become by the middle of the 20th century is so acute. If we want to keep our minds free in our own our own age of war and ideological absolutism, we could do worse than to retrace their steps. -- Lyndsey Stonebridge * Financial Times *

An exhilarating journey through the lives and thought of four exceptional women whose effort to make sense of the dark times in which they lived is an essential compass for understanding our own. Deeply researched and intimately written, Eilenberger's book is an intellectual feast -- Lea Ypi

What was it like to be alive during Hitler's ascent? To read this vivid, gripping book is to relive that time through four of the century's most original minds - not just their evolving ideas but their daily frustrations and fears for the future. To them, philosophy was as concrete and urgent as food or safety, and Eilenberger shows you why -- Larissa MacFarquhar

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