Truth or DeathFront Cover
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    ISBN: 9780889225091 | Paperback

    416 pages | Pub. Date: 20040901
    6.00 W × 9.00 H × 1 D inches
    Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: LIT007000
    Rights: WORLD

Truth or Death
The Quest for Immortality in the Western Narrative Tradition
By Thierry Hentsch
Translated by Fred A. Reed

In the tradition of James Frazer, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, Thierry Hentsch retells, with new urgency and a keen critical eye, “the story of the West” that shapes our perception of the world. Yet, “the story of the West” does not exist. Only a reading of its most seminal texts—from Ulysses to Hamlet, from the Torah to the Gospels, from Plato to Descartes—can bring it alive.

His tale turns on a startling discovery: The Christian message of immortality is conditional. To overcome death—the touchstone of the human condition—the believer must accept the Truth of salvation. Western civilization, by replacing God with technoscience, offers the universal promise that salvation may now be gained on earth. Yet, as a condition, it would impose its own absolute morality on the world. Truth or Death: the Biblical injunction is ours as well.

Winner 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation

“Gives a powerful urge to return to the great stories.”
– Le Temps (Geneva)

“By warning the reader against the danger of losing faith in the power of stories, and in the power of the imagination, Thierry Hentsch proves that myth is not dead, that man still seeks to understand, through stories and in the form of a story, his relationship with existence and with death.”
– Spirale

By Thierry Hentsch

Swiss-born, Francophone author Thierry Hentsch carried out various diplomatic missions for the International Red Cross in Syria, Palestine and Pakistan. An expert in intercultural relations, especially between the East and West, he published many incisive journal articles, reviews and collections, which have appeared in Conjonctures, Études internationales, Spirale and Le Monde diplomatique. His extensive research efforts culminated in L’Orient imaginaire [ Imagining the Middle East ], a much-heralded 1988 publication in which Hentsch provides a solemn critique of the Western perception of the Middle East and reflects on the construction of Western literary, cultural, philosophical, and political identities in relation to the “other.”

Read more about Thierry Hentsch

Translated by Fred A. Reed

International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation.

Read more about Fred A. Reed

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news | 2013-10-04
Celebrating Translators, the Too-Often Unsung Heroes of World Literature

…General’s Literary Award for Translation, and Truth or Death , which won this same award in 2005. Reed has …