In subject and method, Alphonso Lingis’s work has always defied easy categorization, largely owing to the interplay of theory and praxis inherent in his research. Violence and Splendor is a series of reflections grouped into five areas of inquiry: “Spaces Within Spaces,” “Snares for the Eyes,” “The Sacred,” “Violence,” and “Splendor.” “Spaces Within Spaces” explores multiple spaces of our lives—the space of nomads, historical space, geological space, the cosmic space of religious ritual, and the metaphysical habitats of inmates of insane asylums. “Snares for the Eyes” analyzes the inner space of our bodies and the inner spaces of things.
“The Sacred” studies the ways death—the death of others and our own death—fascinates and energizes us. It exhibits the glory in violence and sacrilege. The book culminates in “Splendor,” a study of collective performances that create splendor. Concerning itself most immediately with philosophy, psychology, aesthetics, anthropology, and the theory of religion, Violence and Splendor bridges the discourses of continental philosophy and cross-cultural studies. Further drawing insights from both Western and non-Western traditions, it brings such diverse fields as psychology, art and aesthetics, botany, politics, history, zoology, and religious theory into a new and significant dialogue about the nature of humanity.