Costica Bradatan

Costica Bradatan is a Professor of Humanities in the Honors College at Texas Tech University, USA, and an Honorary Research Professor of Philosophy at University of Queensland, Australia.

He has also held faculty appointments at Cornell University, Miami University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Notre Dame and Arizona State University, as well as at several universities in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

Costica Bradatan is the author and editor of more than ten books, among which Dying for Ideas. The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers (Bloomsbury, 2015 and 2018) and In Praise of Failure (to come out with Harvard University Press). He is currently at work on two other books: Against Conformity and The Prince and the Hermit. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages, including Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Farsi.

Professor Bradatan also writes book reviews, essays, and op-ed pieces for such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, Aeon, Dissent, and Commonweal. He serves as the Religion/Comparative Studies Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, and is the founding editor of two book series: “Philosophical Filmmakers” (Bloomsbury) and “No Limits” (Columbia University Press).

Research Project: In Praise of Failure

Professor Bradatan, during his fellowship, will be finishing a book manuscript, In Praise of Failure, for Harvard University Press. The book makes the argument that, because of our culture’s obsession with success, we miss something important about what it means to be human, and deny ourselves access to a deeper layer of our humanity. A sense of what we are in the grand scheme of things, an openness towards the unknown and the mysterious, humility and reverence towards that which transcends us – these are some of the rewards that a proper grasp of failure could bring about. The book works with the assumption that not only can we live with failure, we can also flourish; not only doesn’t failure kill us, but it can help us live more meaningful and accomplished lives.

The book features – incorporated into the texture of each chapter – five biographical essays on Simone Weil, Cioran, Gandhi, Augustine, and Yukio Mishima. Recounting their life-stories – as seen from the vantage point of their relationship to failure – is meant to enrich the book, making it more sophisticated at the rhetorical level, and more relatable to the reader. For this project is not just about scholarship and argument, but also about people in flesh and blood.   

Dates of stay: 01 October 2020 - 28 February 2021