Discover more from Civic Renaissance with Alexandra Hudson
Holding a lifetime of work in my hands for the first time; plus, an audio excerpt for The Soul of Civility, and a chance to get a FREE advance review copy!
It’s here, and it’s beautiful.
Last week I was in New York City to film the trailer for my book, The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves—and for the launch party of my new TV series, Storytelling and The Human Condition.
It was at the St. Martin’s Press offices that I had the chance to hold my book—the product of nearly a decade of work and a lifetime of thinking about the stuff of personhood, human dignity, and human flourishing—in my hands for the first time.
See below a portrait of pure joy, taken moments after the initial introduction to the culmination of my life’s work.
(You can watch this emotional video that I shared of the experience of holding advance copies of my book for the first time.)
After writing The Soul of Civility, I sought to see the ideas of my book instantiated in the book cover itself. I wanted to see the ideas incarnate.
This took on a whole new meaning when I held my book for the first time.
I’ve shared this before, but I’d like to share again the symbolism of the book’s cover.
First, I yearned to harness the healing power of beauty to help me embody the ideas of my book, and the wonderful design team at St. Martin’s helped me achieve that with what I think is an uncommonly lovely cover.
Second, I adored the symbolism of the olive branch. It is the universal symbol of peace, reconciliation, friendship, and human harmony. It also invokes connotations of antiquity and the classical world, which have influenced me and formed our world today.
The olive branch represents rebirth and renewal. In the Hebrew Bible, after God has destroyed a fallen world with a flood, Noah sends a dove from the ark to see if habitable land remains. The dove returns with an olive branch, which symbolizes a fresh start and a new era for humanity. The central visual metaphor of my book is civilization as a garden—the product of concerted effort, continuous care, and cultivation.
The olive tree is among the oldest cultivated crops from the ancient Mediterranean world. It symbolizes the fruitfulness that is possible when the joint project of human civilization—buttressed and nourished by our individual decisions to live with civility—thrives.
Finally, I wanted the cover to represent an active work of art—hence the subtle paint speckle. Civilization itself—and the human social project generally—is a work of human ingenuity and creation. When grounded on the bedrock of respect for basic human dignity and civility, is a masterpiece.
Like an olive grove, it requires cultivation and continuous care. It takes the active effort of each of us to sustain it and ensure that it thrives. As human beings, we are each a creation capable of creating healing and beauty in our world—a central theme in this book.
A gift for you! The Soul of Civility audio excerpt.
I recorded an excerpt of The Soul of Civility just for you! Enjoy it below and write to me with what you think at email@example.com
Would you like an early copy of the book?
Would you like to get a FREE early advance review copy of my book?
Write to me with your thoughts about the excerpt at firstname.lastname@example.org, and also mention your interest in receiving an early review copy.
I’m thankful you are here and for your support on this journey and shared project of renewing our public discourse through the wisdom of the past.