An NU Press Title
5-1/2 x 8-1/2, 152 pp.
ISBN 978-0-8101-2375-5 / $49.95
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Conversation with Spinoza
A Cobweb Novel
Prizing ideas above all else, radical thinker Baruch Spinoza left little behind in the way of personal facts and furnishings. But what of the tug of necessity, the urgings of the flesh, to which this genius philosopher (and grinder of lenses) might have been no more immune than the next man-or the next character, as Baruch Spinoza becomes in this intriguing novel by the remarkable young Macedonian author Goce Smilevski.
Smilevski's novel brings the thinker Spinoza, all inner life, into conversation with the outer, all-too-real facts of his life and his day--from his connection to the Jewish community of Amsterdam, his excommunication in 1656, and the emergence of his philosophical system to his troubling feelings for his fourteen-year-old Latin teacher Clara Maria van den Enden and later his disciple Johannes Casearius. From this conversation there emerges a compelling and complex portrait of the life of an idea--and of a man who tries to live that idea.
"A young heir to Gunter Grass and Jose Saramago, Smilevski might be the newest of a rare thing--a living European novelist with a message for the future of his continent, with an imagination borne against inheritance with such force that even Spinoza might have approved." --Forward
"Not only does Smilevski fulfill the difficult task of explaining Spinoza's dense ideas, dropping sly references to Darwin and Kundera into 17th-century Dutch life, but he makes a hidden life wonderfully manifest." --European Jewish Press