Book Series

New in Veritas: by Charles Péguy: Notes on Bergson and Descartes

Now out in the Veritas series:

Notes on Bergson and Descartes:
Philosophy, Christianity, and Modernity in Contestation

by Charles Péguy
translated by Bruce K. Ward
with a foreword by John Milbank

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Charles Péguy (1873–1914) was a French religious poet, philosophical essayist, publisher, social activist, Dreyfusard, and Catholic convert. There has recently been a renewed recognition of Péguy in France as a thinker of unique significance, a reconsideration inspired in large part by Gilles Deleuze’s Différence et répétition, which ranked him with Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. In the English-speaking world, however, access to Péguy has been hindered by a scarcity of translations of his work. This first complete translation of one of his most important prose works, with accompanying interpretive introduction and notes, will introduce English-speaking readers to a new voice, which speaks in a powerful and original way to a modern West in a condition of cultural and spiritual crisis. The immediate circumstance of the writing of this last prose essay, unfinished at the time of Péguy’s early death, was the placing of Henri Bergson’s philosophical works on the Catholic Index, and Péguy’s undertaking to defend his former teacher from his critics, both Catholic and secular. But the subject of Bergson is also a springboard for the exploration of the perennial themes—philosophical, theological, and literary—most central to Péguy’s thought.


“Bruce Ward’s excellent translation of Charles Péguy is timely and welcome. For the English reader who has only encountered Péguy’s translated poetical texts, this book will shed a brilliant new light on a figure of outstanding significance.” — Aaron Riches, Assistant Professor of Theology, Benedictine College, Kansas, author of Ecce Homo: On the Divine Unity of Christ (2016).

“Charles Péguy, a significant thinker in turn-of-the-20th-century France, remains an enigmatic figure in the English-speaking world. Notes on Bergson and Descartes contains Péguy’s defense of his former teacher, philosopher Henri Bergson, in an effort to protect the latter from the Catholic Index. Péguy vigorously supported Bergson’s insistence on thinking about the most important questions, and the included essays more generally display how Péguy took up in his own way Bergson’s efforts to ‘re-deepen’ the heritage of Christianity while exposing the spiritual bleakness of modernity. We are indebted to Ward for translating these important if demanding works, by one of the truly profound men of our time.” — David L. Schindler, Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology, John Paul II Institute, The Catholic University of America

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword by John Milbank  ix
  • Acknowledgements  xxxv
  • Introduction  1
  • Note on Bergson and the Bergsonian Philosophy  26
  • Conjoined Note on Descartes and the Cartesian Philosophy  56
  • Appendix: “The Secret of the Man of Forty” — Annette Aronowicz  235

Click here to view Google Books’ look inside preview of this book.

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