Spinoza in Paul Bourget’s roman Le Disciple (1889)

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Deze roman was mij niet bekend en het zal ook wel nooit tot lezen
ervan komen, maar uit wat ik erover tegenkwam kan, ja moet ik dit blog
samenstellen.


Het begon bij wat ik las bij Pierre-François Moreau,
"Spinoza's Reception and Influence," in Genevieve Lloyd (Ed.), Spinoza: Critical Assessments, Volume 4. The reception and influence of Spinoza's
philosophy
. Taylor & Francis, 2001 –
books.google. Daarin deze alinea over op Spinoza
georiënteerde literatuur in de 19
e eeuw, waarvan uit Duitsland Auerbach's
Spinoza. Ein Denkerleben (1838) zeer
bekend is, maar het volgende werk uit Frankrijk mij althans niet bekend was:


“In France, Spinoza played the role of the bad teacher — or
rather, of one of the bad teachers (with Taine) — in Le Disciple (1889), the novel of the traditionalist Paul Bourget,
inspired by a contemporary news item. The hero is a modern philosopher whose
whole life consists in one word: thought. He systematically prohibits charity
to himself because he believes, like Spinoza, that "pity in a wise man who
lives by reason is bad and useless." He detests Christianity as an illness
brought on by humility. He relies on Darwin (but with reference to Spinoza) for
the idea that "the moral universe reproduces exactly the physical universe
and that the former is only the painful and ecstatic consciousness of the
latter." We can surmise the morality of the tale: Such a philosophy leads
to assassination on the part of the student who applies too well the teacher's
maxims. That the teacher is elsewhere described as someone "very sweet"
is not an extenuating circumstance; Bourget is concerned with showing that even
virtuous atheists are still worse than other individuals.”