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Moving thoughts about emotional times

The Mobilization of Arcadia

Stefan Hertmans

‘There’s no getting away from it: we live in emotional times. Wherever you look, commotion is the norm,
intensity the form.’ So begins ‘The unfeeling emotion’, the introductory essay to Stefan Hertmans’ new
collection. The theme that unites all the essays in ‘The Mobilization of Arcadiais our romantic and Christian longing for Arcadia, an imaginary place that acquired a new meaning with the arrival of modernity. Our pursuit of a fictional personality may be the cause of the intense sense of loss that typifies us. Everything we value – sexuality, identity, art and literature, social engagement – is unremittingly stirred up for the sake of a higher goal.

A thoroughly impressive book.
De Groene Amsterdammer

With due philosophical profundity, Hertmans brings into focus the contrast between this longing for Arcadia and the chaos characteristic of contemporary life, in essays about Belgium, engagement, community, Houellebecq, Onfray, Kierkegaard, Sebald, Pernath and others.