Eva Brann is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Her other books include Doublethink / Doubletalk, Then & Now, Un-Willing, The Logos of Heraclitus, Feeling Our Feelings, Homage to Americans, Open Secrets / Inward Prospects, The Music of the Republic, and Homeric Moments (all published by Paul Dry Books).
In the first essay, Brann parses out the schema and meaning of Herodotus's The History (The Persian Wars). She writes that Herodotus worked by indirection. Giving a full account of the Persians and the peoples who constituted their empire—and whose empire encircled the Greeks (thus the "Greek center")—Herodotus delineates the essential difference between the Barbarians and the Greeks. This difference Brann calls Athens' "elusive essence," its freedom contrasting with the slavery upon which the Persian empire depended.
In the second essay, the author delves into what it means for a person to unite a disposition toward conservatism with a capacity to reiterate and rehearse events, scenes, and dramas in "the conservatory of the imagination." To uncover the meanings and consequences of this union—this imaginative conservatism—and the type of soul to which it applies, Brann offers twelve perspectives, starting with "Temperamental Disposition" and ending with "Eccentric Centrality" (without ever explicitly focusing on politics). Join her and you'll find both delight and education.
Often the aphorisms balance opposing thoughts, as if the writer were—simultaneously—on both ends of the seesaw.
In the preface Eva Brann describes her manner of composition: "I wrote these thoughts down on about two thousand sheets, two to three thoughts per paper, and I kept them in some used manila envelopes, the earliest of which bore a postmark of 1972."
"At times, aphorisms are merely witty, but they can convey and evoke sustained reflection and thought, as those of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, or Nicolás Gómez Dávila. To that list we can add Eva Brann...In the few hours spent with her, one finds a wise, slightly acerbic, good-humored teacher—one wishes for her friendship, for more time with her."—The University Bookman
Philosopher Eva Brann describes the concept of “doublethink/doubletalk” as “a flanking approach toward comprehending a pervasively duplex world, a world that sometimes flashes fleeting signs of covert wholeness.” In this, her second collection of aphorisms and observations, Brann shines a light on our world—on “the way things are”—and she does it with characteristic wit and insight.