‘The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing …Is it reason that makes you love yourself?’
Pascal is equally celebrated for his simple, original prose style and for his profound conclusions that have influenced generations of thinkers and writers from Kierkegaard to Samuel Beckett. The only illustrated edition of Pensées in print, this volume contains a magnificent range of paintings by Pascal’s contemporary, Philippe de Champaigne, who became a follower of the Jansenist creed espoused by Pascal after his daughter was cured at the Abbey of Port-Royal, the same place that inspired Pascal’s renewal of faith. The introduction, by T. S. Eliot, is a brilliant analysis of Pascal’s thought and influence.
‘Pascal is one of those writers who will be and who must be studied afresh by men in every generation’
‘There are passages in the Pensées that stop you dead – breathtakingly bold and elegant formulations of their author’s views on human nature and behaviour, Scripture, prophecy and divinity. When Pascal decries the vanity of painting (it makes us admire things we care little for in real life) or explains his famous “wager” (you might as well believe in God since you have nothing to lose if He doesn’t exist), the ingenuity of his argumentation recommends ideas which in a lesser writer might unsettle or even outrage. Wise, wry, provocative and disarmingly honest, this collection of short essays and aphorisms presents a form of literature without equivalent anywhere else – a literary mosaic in which every tessera possesses its own brilliance, but whose meaning, profound yet clear, emerges only from an apprehension of the whole.’