A Brief EternityThe Philosophy of Longevity
A Brief Eternity
The Philosophy of Longevity
Translated by Steven Rendall, Lisa Neal
There is one fundamental thing that has changed in our societies since 1950: life has got longer. Over the last few generations, 20 or 30 years have been added to the duration of our lives. But after the age of 50, human beings experience a kind of suspension: no longer young, not really old, they are, as it were, weightless. It is a reprieve that leaves life open like a swinging door. The increase in life expectancy is a tremendous step forward that upsets everything: relations between generations, patterns of family life, the very meaning of our identity and our destiny. This reprieve is both exciting and frightening. The deadlines are getting shorter, the possibilities are shrinking, but there are still discoveries, surprises and upsetting love affairs. Time has become a paradoxical ally: instead of killing us, it carries us forward. What to do with this ambiguous gift? Is it only a question of living longer or living more intensely? To continue along the same path or to branch out and start again? What about remarriage, a new career? How to avoid the weariness of living, the melancholy of the twilight years, how to get through great joys and great pains? Nourished by both reflections and statistics, drawing on the sources of literature, the arts and history, this book proposes a philosophy of longevity based not on resignation but on resolution. In short, an art of living this life to the full. Is there not a profound joy in being alive at the age when our ancestors already had one foot in the grave? 

This book is dedicated to all those who dream of a new spring in the autumn of life, and want to put off winter as long as they can.
Show More
Buy Now

From Wiley.com

Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • January 2021
  • 180 pages
  • 140 x 221 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $19.95
  • 9781509544325
  • Open eBook $19.95
  • 9781509544349
About the Author
Pascal Bruckner is the best-selling author of many books including The Tyranny of GuiltPerpetual Euphoria and The Fanaticism of the Apocalyse.
Show More


‘In this excellent essay Pascal Bruckner does not limit himself to exploring the multiple existential questions raised by the recent lengthening of human life or to showing how, in the course of modernity, the third age has become “the philosophical age par excellence”: he constantly and rightly emphasizes the ambiguities, equivocations and ambivalences of this new situation.’
Le Monde

‘A Brief Eternity is an ode to desire, to the passion for life, to the warm glow of human discoveries, immense or small.’

"Human beings have invented a new epoch in their lives: Indian summer, as Pascal Brucker calls it in his thoughtful meditation on life after 60.  No longer just an anteroom to death or a fantasied Neverland of blissful retirement, it has distinct challenges and novel satisfactions that one appreciates better after reading A Brief Eternity.  Written with verve and a joyful irony, it is a stimulating travelogue for that journey we all hope to make."
Mark Lilla, Professor of Humanities, Columbia University

"Pascal Bruckner’s most personal essay to date, A Brief Eternity deploys the writer’s remarkable erudition and culture to respond to a very recent and important question: how to live our extended 'middle age,' our prolonged 'Indian Summer,' wisely and to the fullest. Steeped in Bruckner’s usual wit, verve, and delight in paradox, A Brief Eternity is also, surprisingly, a bracing reminder of life’s limitations as well as its possibilities in the Age of Covid 19. A very timely book.”
Richard J. Golsan, University Distinguished Professor  Senior Scowcroft Fellow, the Bush School, Texas A & M University

"Pascal Bruckner is the philosopher of the new, always alert to the moment, always capable of identifying the unexpected turn that modern culture is taking, always two steps ahead of everyone else in describing these things, always deft, always brilliant, sometimes deep. Read any two pages, and you will see it."
Paul Berman, author of Power and the Idealists and other books
Show More