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Europa: an Idea and a Journey Europa: an Idea and a Journey
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2012-10-01 10:57:22
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“In this book the reader is given to understand from the very beginning that Europe is an idea more than a geographical reality, and it will live or die as an idea. Dr. Paparella is to be commended for drawing for us an eminently readable, poetic, Vichian map with which to navigate the stormy sea of the transatlantic dialogue while avoiding the icebergs of nichilism.”

                    --Michael Vena, Ph.D. (retired Professor Emeritus of Italian at Southern Connecticut State University)

Europa: An Idea and a Journey

Essays on the Origins of the EU’s Cultural Identity and its Present Economic-Political Crisis

                                                          Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

The above is the cover of the last book on the idea of Europe which I have published recently in both hard and soft cover. At the end below the reader will find a short book-review of the same by my dear friend and colleague Dr. Michael Vena. It can be retrieved and purchased at the Amazon. com book store (where the review here reproduced is also posted), or at the Borders book store, or the publisher itself Xlibris. Its full title is Europa: an Idea and a Journey: Essays on the Origins of the EU’s Cultural Identity and its Present Economic-Political Crisis. It is also available as an e-book.

Most of the essays that comprise this book, albeit edited and with an introduction, have been published in Ovi magazine in the last three or four years and have been subsequently placed in the Ovi bookstore as an e-book by the title of Europe Beyond the Euro. I would like to thank the editor Thanos Kalamidas for publishing the essays and then kindly granting permission to republish the essays as a hard cover book.

For the benefit of the interested Ovi reader I reproduce here the brief description of the book and the biography of its author as found in the back of its jacket. The verbatim review by Dr. Vena follows the description and biography.

Description of book from the back jacket:  The essays in this book are the distillation of years of reflection, writing, lecturing and active participation in the ongoing debate on the cultural identity of the European Union, the vicissitudes of the transatlantic dialogue, the envisioning of new social paradigms, the building of more solid and more relevant bridges of understanding between two continents that have a common Western humanistic tradition, albeit synthesized to other cultures in America. While the approach is personal, it remains interdisciplinary and holistic throughout, rooted in the poetic philosophy of history of Giambattista Vico and encompassing literature, philosophy, myth, linguistics and political science, on the edge of bounderies between the historical grand narrative, the religious and even the quotidian and the anecdotal. These thirty years trace the origins of Western Civilization and the synthesis of Humanism and Christianity that is the Renaissance, but also, Janus-like face, they look forward to a new Renaissance and hupaparellamanistic synthesis yet to be envisioned and forged, that will dare to be both old and new, that will encompass the poetical as well as the rational without losing sight of the universality of our common humanity. The journey may be long and arduous but it has already begun some sixty years ago. Moreover, these essays will appeal especially to those readers who are perplexed at the loss of humanistic modes of thought in our post-modern technological society. A book sure to stimulate the intellect and the imagination of its readers. They are given to understand from the outset that Europe, more than a geographical political reality, is an evolving idea, and it is her destiny to live or die as such. The readers will be provided with a Vichian chart to assist them in intellectually navigating and journey forth on this unique idea called Europa.

Biographical note as found in the back jacket: Emanuel L. Paparella, a former professor of Italian at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Central Florida, is the author of Hermeneutics in the Philosophy of Giambattista Vico (Mellen Press, N.Y., 1993, also A New Europe in Search of its Soul (Authorhouse, 2005) as well as various articles on Italian Literature, History and Philosophy, especially the philosophy of Vico and Croce. He holds a BA from Saint Francis College (Philosophy major), an MA from Middlebury College and an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism from Yale University. He has studied Comparative Literature at New York University, is a former Fulbright scholar and has directed for five summers the study abroad program at the University of Urbino. He has also done a major translation: Vittorio Possenti’s Philosophy and Revelation (Ashgate Publishing, London, 2001). Since the year 2000 he has actively participated in the debate on the European Union initiated by Tony Blair and Romano Prodi, while lecturing and teaching Humanities and Philosophy at Barry University and Broward College. He is now semi-retired but continues to lecture and teach philosophy and humanities. He lives in Sunrise, Florida with his wife Cathy, his three daughters Cristina, Alessandra and Francesca and his two grandchildren Sophia and Nicholas. Another one is on its way.


Book-review of Europa, an Idea and a Journey

This review by Dr. Michael Vena has already appeared in the Amazon book store section on September 24, 2012.

Once again my good friend, fellow Yale alumnus and dear colleague Dr. Paparella has surpassed himself with a sequel to the informative seminal book he wrote seven years ago (A New Europe in Search of its Soul). Once again he writes in a colloquial layman's language on a the complex thorny subject of the European Union's cultural identity and the transatlantic dialogue.

The thirty or so essays he compiled within seven year reinforce the warnings and the analysis about the EU he supplied in the previous book and suggests new ways to escape the present economic, social and, above all, cultural difficulties. This time around too the reader is made to understand at the outset, from its very title, that Europe is much more than a geographical location, it is an idea and it will live or die as an idea. Once again, the methodological key utilized by Dr. Paparella is the poetical philosophy of Giambattista Vico which allows for an in depth explorations at the edge of boundaries between literature, poetry, myth, the grand-narrative and the quotidian, the religiously visionary and the secular.

Particularly noteworthy are the first essay ("Vico's Poetic Philosophy within Europe's Cultural Identity"), the third ("Levinas' Challenge to the Modern Eropean Identity"), the fourth ("Dante's Vision of a United Europe"), and the fifth ("Europe as the Return of the Gods") which propose a challenging reconsideration of the cultural identity of the new Europe called the European Union. Those four essays by themselves would render the book extraordinary, but there is much more and the reader is invited by the author, via the introduction, to a journey of exploration which, in a Vichian mode, begins and ends with self-knowledge.

As the journey proceeds the reader will discover that at both the microcosmic and macrocosmic level it is the destination; which is to say, it is a never-ending journey. This is aptly rendered by the illustration on the book's cover which portrays the goddess Europa riding a bull (a disguised Zeus) on a fateful sea journey, as masterfully rendered by the French Baroque painter Noel Nicolas Coypel (circa 1726). Well done Dr. Paparella!

                                                     --Michael Vena, professor emeritus of Italian (retired) at                             

                                                                                 Southern Connecticut State University


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Thanos2012-10-01 19:33:14
Congratulation Emanuel and THANK YOU very much for mentioning Ovi!

Jean Anjos2013-04-13 23:54:28
Ahah-- I knew it- found out! Your essays comprise your book, I was going to tell you just that (to make a book on all these Ovi articles you have written, after you mentioned you had a couple of thousand!) Nonetheless, nice job. You are a not only an instructor, but a friend, a mentor, a life example, an extraordinaire, and the list can keep compiling from here into a book on synonyms on Emmanuel Paparella Yale graduate who arose from Puglia. Nicely done!

An much thanks to Micheal Vena!

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