Gillian Rose

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This page is about the philosopher Gillian Rose. For the geographer, see Gillian Rose (geographer).

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."[citation needed]

Life and work[edit]

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 interest in 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. After 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 vision of philosophy Oxford put forth at this time.

Rose's academic career began with a dissertation on Theodor W. Adorno, supervised by Leszek Kołakowski. 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.[1] She made a deathbed conversion to Christianity through the Anglican Church.[1] 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)
  • "Architecture to Philosophy - The Postmodern Complicity", an article in Theory, Culture & Society, Volume 5(2-3), June 1988 special edition on "Postmodernism".
  • The Broken Middle: Out of Our Ancient Society (1992)
  • Judaism and Modernity (1993)
  • Love's Work: A Reckoning With Life (1995)
  • Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation (1996)
  • "Beginnings of the Day: Fascism and Representation", paper in Modernism, Culture and 'the Jew' (1998) [the book is dedicated to Rose]
  • Paradiso (1999)


  1. ^ a b Wolf, Arnold Jacob. "The Tragedy of Gillian Rose." Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought 46, no. 184 (1997).


  • Shanks, Andrew, Against Innocence: Gillian Rose's Reception and Gift of Faith (London, SCM Press, 2008).

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