18. Gabriel Marcel’s Perspectives on The Broken World. Translated by Katharine Rose Hanley. The Broken World, A Four-Act Play followed by “Concrete Approaches to Investigating the Ontological Mystery.” Six original illustrations by Stephen Healy. Commentaries by Henri Gouhier and Marcel Belay. Eight Appendices. Introduction by Ralph McInerny. Bibliographies. Indexes. ISBN 0-87462-617-X. ©1998. Paperbound. Index. 242 pp. $25

Gabriel Marcel (1889-1973) was a distinguished existential thinker of international renown. He authored some 30 plays and an equal number of philosophic writings. He won numerous literary prizes and even some peace prizes and was elected to the Institute of France-the highest honor his country can bestow upon an intellectual. In the 1950s and 1960s, he lectured throughout Europe and North and South America and along the Pacific Rim. Marcel is probably best known to English-speaking audiences for his philosophic writings, since most of these have been translated into English, whereas only ten of his plays are thus far available in English. In Marcel’s 1961 William James Lectures at Harvard University, he expressed the hope that American audiences would someday be familiar with his theater. It is a joy to see The Broken World available again to readers of English, for it is one of Marcel’s finest and most important plays and marks a capital moment in the evolution of his thought. It is a powerful, touching, and deeply moving piece, full of intrigue and surprising turns, including a stunning ending that takes readers into the realm of mystery. — Katharine Rose Hanley, From the translator’s Preface

“The common target of the play and the essay is mystery-not mystery in the full religious sense, but the sense of mystery that Marcel distinguished from the problem. We may be tempted to say that philosophy deals with problems and art with mysteries, but this is not at all what Gabriel Marcel holds. It is the sense of mystery and its unique revelatory role that he seeks to restore to philosophy. If he had done nothing else, his success in this matter would constitute a major contribution to philosophy. You and I might be reminded a bit of Graham Greene’s theatrical work when we read The Broken World in the excellent translation put before us here. Of course any influence would have gone in the other direction. Greene signals the role that Péguy and Mauriac played in his artistic development as a Catholic writer. I do not remember similar allusions to Marcel. Perhaps there are some. I hope so. We will also think of T.S. Eliot’s theatrical works. Eliot and Greene provide the kind of surprise Marcel provides in the final act of the play before us. I have said the translation is excellent. It is. It reads easily and with almost no sense that the very idiomatic English is replacing a very idiomatic French. No one but Katharine Rose Hanley could have provided such a translation. a very powerful aesthetic and then philosophical experience.” — From the Introduction by Ralph McInerny, University of Notre Dame


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