- This page is about the philosopher Gillian Rose. For the geographer, see Gillian Rose (geographer).
September 20, 1947|
|Died||December 9, 1995 (aged 48)
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
|Main interests||Law, Ethics, Hegelianism|
|Notable ideas||The "broken middle"|
Gillian Rose (September 20, 1947 – December 9, 1995) was a British scholar who worked in the fields of philosophy and sociology. Notable facets of this social philosopher's work include criticism of neo-Kantianism and post-modernism, along with what has been described as "a forceful defence of Hegel's speculative thought."
Life and work
She was born in London into a non-practicing Jewish family. While still young her mother divorced her father and shortly afterward married another man, her stepfather, with whom Rose became close as she drifted from her father. In her memoir Love's Work: A Reckoning with Life, she claims that her "passion for philosophy" and desire to pursue it was initiated at age 17 when she read Pascal's Pensées and Plato's The Republic.
Rose attended St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she read economics, philosophy, and politics. She was taught philosophy by Jean Austin, the widow of the philosopher J. L. Austin. Upon hearing Austin say, "Remember, girls, all the philosophers you will read are much more intelligent than you are" during her first term, she began to bristle under the constraints of Oxford style philosophy. In a late interview, Rose commented of people trained in philosophy at Oxford: "It teaches them to be clever, destructive, supercilious and ignorant. It doesn’t teach you what’s important. It doesn’t feed the soul."
Rose's academic career began with a dissertation on Theodor W. Adorno, supervised by Leszek Kołakowski. She became well known partly through her critiques of postmodernism and post-structuralism. In Dialectic of Nihilism, for instance, she leveled her gaze at Deleuze, Saussure, Levi-Strauss, Foucault, and Derrida. Howard Caygill has taken issue with Rose's readings of Deleuze and Derrida in Dialectic of Nihilism, going so far as to call some of them "frankly tendentious". However, Caygill insists that "Whatever the shortcomings of the readings in Dialectic of Nihilism and the unfortunate and unnecessary borders it raised between Rose's thought and that of many of her contemporaries, it did mark a further stage in her retrieval of speculative thought." Later, in her essay "Of Derrida's Spirit" in Judaism and Modernity, Rose critiqued Derrida's Of Spirit (1987), arguing that his analysis of Heidegger's relation to Nazism relied in key instances on serious misreadings of Hegel which allowed both thinkers to evade political history and modern law. In an extended "Note" to the essay, Rose raised objections along similar lines to Derrida's subsequent readings of Hermann Cohen and Walter Benjamin, singling out his notion of the "mystical foundation of authority" as a central issue.
She was Reader at the School of European Studies (the University of Sussex) and then Professor of Social and Political Thought at the University of Warwick from 1989 to her death in 1995. As part of her thinking into the Holocaust, Professor Rose was engaged by the Polish Commission for the Future of Auschwitz in 1990.
Rose died in Coventry at the age of 48 after a severe two-year battle with ovarian cancer. She made a deathbed conversion to Christianity through the Anglican Church. She left to the library of Warwick University parts of her own personal library, including a collection of essential works on the History of Christianity and Theology, which are marked "From the Library of Professor Gillian Rose, 1995" on the inside cover. Rose is survived by her parents, her sister, the academic and writer Jacqueline Rose, her half sisters, Alison Rose and Diana Stone, and her half brother, Anthony Stone.
- The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodor W. Adorno (1978)
- Hegel contra Sociology (1981)
- Dialectic Of Nihilism: Post-Structuralism and Law (1984)
- The Broken Middle: Out of Our Ancient Society (1992)
- Judaism and Modernity: Philosophical Essays (1993)
- Love's Work: A Reckoning With Life (1995)
- Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (1996)
- Paradiso (1999)
Essays, Articles, and Reviews
- "How is Critical Theory Possible?", Political Studies 24:1 (March 1976), 69-85.
- Review of Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, in The American Political Science Review 7.2 (June 1976), 598-9.
- Review of Susan Buck-Morss, The Origin of Negative Dialectics and Zolton Tar, The Frankfurt School, in History and Theory 18.1 (February 1979), 126-135.
- Review of Thomas McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas, in British Journal of Sociology 31.1 (March 1980), 110-1.
- "A ghost in his own machine", review of Points...: Interviews, 1974-1994 and Spectres of Marx by Jacques Derrida. The Times 27 July 1995.
- "The Final Notebooks of Gillian Rose", Women: A Cultural Review 9:1 (1998), 6-18, edited by Howard Caygill.
- "Beginnings of the Day: Fascism and Representation", paper in Modernism, Culture and 'the Jew' (1998) [the book is dedicated to Rose]
- From the back cover of the 2009 Verso Books reprint of Hegel contra Sociology.
- Rose, Gillian (1995). Love's Work. The New York Review of Books. p. 128.
- Rose (1995). p. 129.
- Lloyd, Vincent (2008). "Interview with Gillian Rose". Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 25 Issue 7/8. p. 207.
- Caygill, Howard (1998). "The Broken Hegel". Women: A Cultural Review, Vol. 9 Issue 1. p. 24.
- Caygill (1998). p. 24
- Derrida, Jacques (1991). "Interpretations at War: Kant, the Jew, the German". New Literary History 22. pp. 39-95.
- Derrida, Jacques (1990). "Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority' ", in two Parts. Cardozo Law Review vol. 11, 5-6. pp. 919-73; 973-1039.
- Rose, Gillian (1993). Judaism and Modernity. Blackwell. pp. 79-87.
- Wolf, Arnold Jacob (1997). "The Tragedy of Gillian Rose." Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought 46, no. 184.
- Bernstein, Jay, "Philosophy Among the Ruins", Prospect Magazine 6 (1996), 27-30.
- Caygill, Howard, "The Broken Hegel: Gillian Rose's retrieval of speculative philosophy", Women: A Cultural Review 9.1 (1998), 19-27.
- Jarvis, Simon, "Idle Tears: A Response to Gillian Rose" in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Reappraisal (edited by Gary K. Browning, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997), 113-9.
- Kavka, Martin, "Saying Kaddish for Gillian Rose, or on Levinas and Geltungsphilosophie" in Secular Theology: American Radical Theological Thought (edited by Clayton Crockett, London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 104-129.
- Lloyd, Vincent, Law and Transcendence: On the Unfinished Project of Gillian Rose (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
- Lloyd, Vincent, "On the Use of Gillian Rose", The Heythrop Journal 48.5 (2007), 697-706.
- Rose, Jacqueline "On Gillian Rose" in The Last Resistance (London: Verso, 2007).
- Schick, Kate, Gillian Rose: A Good Enough Justice (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2012).
- Shanks, Andrew, Against Innocence: Gillian Rose's Reception and Gift of Faith (London, SCM Press, 2008).
- Tubbs, Nigel, Contradiction of Enlightenment: Hegel and the Broken Middle (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997).
- Williams, Rowan D. "Between Politics and Metaphysics: Reflections in the Wake of Gillian Rose", Modern Theology 11.1 (1995), 3-22.
- Obituary from Radical Philosophy, by Howard Caygill
- Mind the Gap: The Philosophy of Gillian Rose, by Nigel Tubbs
- Sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Christmas Day 1996
- Bibliography of Works By and About Rose
- Upcoming conference about Rose in January 2015