As a rule, an author’s correspondence possesses only a secondary interest, but Jacob Burckhardt’s letters are of primary interest to students of history because of the nature of the man and of his major writings. Judgments on History and Historians, for example, consists not of Burckhardt’s own lectures, but of notes on his lectures by one of his greatest students. It is because Burckhardt was a remarkably private man who believed that contemplation was the key to insight into the nature of man and history, and because his approach to the study of history was reflective rather than systematic or dogmatic, that his letters possess a singular significance. For it is in his letters that Burckhardt provides additional and even personal observations on his learned explorations of antiquity, the Renaissance, and modern Europe, and it is in his letters that Burckhardt muses on the consequences that he believed—and feared—awaited a Europe that had given itself almost wholly to a rationalistic and materialistic understanding of history and destiny.
Temporal and Eternal is a profound and poetic assessment of the relationship between tradition and liberty, between politics and society, and between Christianity and the modern world. This edition includes a new foreword by Pierre Manent, Professor of Political Science at the Centre de Recherches Politiques Raymond Aron in Paris.
This elegantly written work introduces the reader to an understanding that leisure is nothing less than “an attitude of mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world.” Pieper demonstrates that “Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture,” and observes, “in our bourgeois Western world total labor has vanquished leisure. Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for nonactivity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture—and ourselves.”