News of the day, of the world—seemingly always, only dark and disheartening—got you down? About that, Brian Treanor is understanding, but unbowed, actually resistive. He tells you why and how in his brand-new book, Melancholic Joy, but not before he “unflinchingly acknowledges the everyday frustrations and extraordinary horrors that generate despair,” which is how writer Alison Mullin puts it in the January Bellarmine News, the publication of Loyola Marymount University, the Los Angeles school at which Treanor has taught for almost two decades.
True, “we often allow one aspect of reality, i.e., that which we experience as a burden, threat, or loss,” the author explains in his interview with Mullin, “to occlude another, i.e., that which we experience as a gift or a grace.” To take up “melancholic joy,” Mullin adds, is to accept “the mystery of a world both beautiful and brutal.”
LMU’s president, Robert Lawton, S.J., describes Treanor as being “extraordinarily wise and articulate,” characteristics which the book confirms. Professor of philosophy, Treanor, who occupys a named chair in social values at LMU, and who’s earned 10 excellence-in-teaching awards, was founding director of the school’s environmental studies program and its Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination.
Melancholic Joy: On Life Worth Living
By Brian Treanor
Bloomsbury Academic, 2021