Hope without Optimism, by Terry Eagleton

June 21, 2016

“A transformed existence can spring only from an encounter with dispossession,” claims Terry Eagleton, who teaches literature at the University of Lancaster. Denouncing false cheeriness, historical progressivism, utopian visions, and libertarian ethics of self-realization, Eagleton creates space for realistic hope to emerge from the tragedies of today’s world. This provocative book portrays hope as a virtue, a moral orientation that can be cultivated actively, a matter of will. The book also generates hope, validating Eagleton’s conviction that hope is self-fulfilling. But hope is not facile. Like Jesus’ lament to God from the cross, or like the fear and trembling that Kierkegaard grasped, “hope, to be enduring and well-founded, needs to be dearly bought.”