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Spacious Joy


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Table of Contents

Translator's Note Introduction: Spaciousness, Joy, and the Legacy of the Word "Dilation" Chapter One: St. Augustine and the Wide Offshore of Desire Chapter Two: St. Gregory the Great: Amplitude Within a Narrow Confinement Chapter Three: The Dilated Runners of Psalm 118, from Henri Michaux to St. Teresa Chapter Four: Mystical Dilations Chapter Five: Bossuet on the Open Roads Chapter Six: Amiel and the Pathology of Dilation Chapter Seven: Return to Eden with Thomas Traherne Chapter Eight: Whitman, Voyager Without Limits Chapter Nine: Paul Claudel's Cosmic Respiration Further Reading

About the Author

J.L. Chretien is a French philosopher and poet. He is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris, Sorbonne. He has published 30 books in French and received the Prix du Cardinal Lustiger from the Academie francaise in 2012 for his philosophical work. Anne Ashley Davenport is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Boston College.


Anne Davenport has with sensitivity and insight brilliantly translated the nuances of Jean-Louis Chretien's masterpiece on the deep nature of joy, which the modern world urgently needs with its overemphasis on rationality and self-centred individuality. Joy and space are explored through an expansion or opening of the heart, which render us more alive and vibrant, implying that we are fellow-breathers of each other and of all living things, which has implications for rebuilding communities and caring for the environment. -- Eric Ronald Priest, Emeritus Professor, University of St Andrews
The extraordinary Jean-Louis Chretien reminds us once again not only of the richness of overlooked experiences and the importance of the concepts that preserve them, but of their important place in an account of our humanity that would be able to admit them. Here it is a matter of joy, an affect that modern philosophy has addressed too little, its manifestation in body and soul, and the constitution of space and time that is implied by it. What the bible has known and has been dear to poets and religious thinkers, philosophy cannot afford to ignore. In the dilation of the heart, dilatatio cordis, one finds the center of our existence, in the flesh, in thought, in sensibility and in willing. Wonderfully translated by Anne Davenport, Spacious Joy invites careful reading and indeed re-reading. -- Jeffrey Bloechl, Department of Philosophy, Boston College
Spacious Joy is a brilliant interdisciplinary work by one of France's most daring contemporary thinkers. Ranging from philosophy and theology to mysticism and literature, Chretien invites the reader on a deep, expansive journey of contemplative imagination. The expert translation and Translator's Note by Anne Davenport offer supplementary pleasures to this rich intellectual feast. Taste and see! -- Richard Kearney, Charles Seelig Professor of Philosophy, Boston College

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