Jefferson's Demons

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"I have often wondered for what good end the sensations of Grief could be intended."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson suffered during his life from periodic bouts of dejection and despair, shadowed intervals during which he was full of "gloomy forebodings" about what lay ahead.

Not long before he composed the Declaration of Independence, the young Jefferson lay for six weeks in idleness and ill health at Monticello, paralyzed by a mysterious "malady." Similar lapses were to recur during anxious periods in his life, often accompanied by violent headaches. In "Jefferson's Demons," Michael Knox Beran illuminates an optimistic man's darker side -- Jefferson as we have rarely seen him before.

The worst of these moments came after his wife died in 1782. But two years later, after being dispatched to Europe, Jefferson recovered nerve and spirit in the salons of Paris, where he fell in love with a beautiful young artist, Maria Cosway. When their affair ended, Jefferson's health again broke down. He set out for the palms and temples of southern Europe, and though he did not know where the therapeutic journey would take him or where it would end, his encounter with the old civilizations of the Mediterranean was transformative. The Greeks and Romans taught him that a man could make productive use of his demons.

Jefferson's immersion in the mystic truths of the Old World gave him insights into mysteries of life and art that Enlightenment philosophy had failed to supply. Beran skillfully shows how Jefferson drew on the esoteric lore he encountered to transform anxiety into action. On his return to America, Jefferson entered the most productive period of his life: Hecreated a new political party, was elected president, and doubled the size of the country. His private labors were no less momentous...among them, the artistry of Monticello and the University of Virginia.

"Jefferson's Demons" is an elegantly composed account of the strangeness and originality of one Founder's genius. Michael Knox Beran uncovers the maps Jefferson used to find his way out of dejection and to forge a new democratic culture for America. Here is a Jefferson who, with all his failings, remains one of his country's greatest teachers and prophets.

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Jefferson's Demons

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one of the best books I have ever read. A very informative, fact filled, yet enjoyable read. will keep this one forever and read it several more times during the course of my life. レビュー全文を読む

GENERAL WASHINGTON'S CHRISTMAS FAREWELL: A Mount Vernon Homecoming, 1783

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Skillful and prolific pop historian Weintraub (Charlotte and Lionel, 2003, etc.) accompanies The Father of His Country for a few months at the end of 1783. The revolutionary war Washington had ... レビュー全文を読む

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著者について (2001)

Michael Knox Beran was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1966. He isMichael Knox Beran was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1966. He is the author of a book about Robert Kennedy, "The Last Patric the author of a book about Robert Kennedy, "The Last Patrician", a "New York Times" Notable Book of 1998. His work has ian", a "New York Times" Notable Book of 1998. His work has appeared in "The Wall Street Journal, National Review, " andappeared in "The Wall Street Journal, National Review, " and "The New Yorker". A graduate of Columbia, Cambridge, and Ya "The New Yorker". A graduate of Columbia, Cambridge, and Yale Law School, he is a lawyer, and he lives in Westchester Cle Law School, he is a lawyer, and he lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife and daughter. ounty, New York, with his wife and daughter.

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