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How far from the optimism of eighteenth-century philosophes and their nineteenth-century heirs ought we to let the disasters of twentieth-century European history push us? An encounter with the profoundly pessimistic socio-political theoretician Georges Sorel can help us gauge that. But in assessing Sorelian thought, we ought to adopt the same analytical strategy he himself prescribed when approaching complex and multi-faceted subjects: a deliberately partial, indirect approach he called 'diremption'. This diremption of Sorelian morality addresses his concepts of 'work' and 'love' specifically; and it accesses them not directly, through his own works, but indirectly, through fictional works he found particularly meaningful: Daniel Halevy's science-fiction novel History of Four Years and Paul Claudel's verse drama The Hostage.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of History, University of New Hampshire -- Manchester, University Center, 400 Commercial Street, Manchester, NH 03101, USA. ., Email:

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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