Will Durant’s "Talk on Spinoza" – ruim 100 jaar geleden

Van het een komt het ander. Toen ik gisteren in Lewis S. Feuer, Varieties of Scientific Experience [Transaction Publishers. 1995 – books.google] de door mij geciteerde tekst over Gabriel R. Mason tegenkwam [cf. blog], zag ik uiteraard meteen ook de tekst daarboven, waarin Feuer een korte impressie geeft van hoe Will Durant van begin af aan groot succes had met zijn inleidingen over Spinoza. Feuer baseert zich voor zijn schets op A Dual Autobiography van Will & Ariel Durant [New York, 1977].

Het volgendes tukje van Feuer is een mooie aanvulling op het blog van 24 juli 2008” De Spinoza van Will Durant - forever a lover of philosophy.” Deze foto van wikipedia stamt uit ongeveer de besproken tijd:


“Many a young East Side Jew shared in an emotional identification with Spinoza. When Will Durant, later the celebrated author of The Story of Philosophy, began his career in 1913 as a popular lecturer at the Labor Temple on Second Avenue and Fourteenth Streeth his opening lecture on Spinoza drew "some five hundred new American’s." A Jewish auditor of Durant's versified in a "little magazine":


Durant spoke of Spinoza yesterday
And I sat list’ning, feeling, meditating,
And now and ever afterwards will feel
And live and think more deeply than before.
For having heard Durant speak of Spinoza.

Spinoza! what a mighty, mighty name!
All Alexanders. Caesars and Napoleons—
Mere specks of dust upon a polished lens,
Compared to this poor polisher of lenses.
He polished lenses for myopic eyes;...

The World's myopic eyes have need of them—
And long will need them—poor myopic world.
My own sight seems improved since I heard
Durant speak of Spinoza yesterday.

Durant's lecture transcribed into a booklet, sold widely as one of the most influential series of cultural publications in American history, the famous Haldeman-Julius Blue Books, retailed at five cents a copy; later it provided the most moving chapter in the still unsurpassed and oft reprinted best-seller The Story of Philosophy. “