The European Sisyphus : essays on Europe, 1964-1994 

Hoffmann, Stanley  

Boulder : Westview Press


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Further works by Stanley Hoffmann

Stanley Hoffmann (French, born in Vienna, 27 November 1928) is a professor at Harvard University in the US since 1955 (and is currently the Paul and Catherine Buttenweiser University Professor), teaching French intellectual and political history; the development of the modern state, US foreign policy; the sociology of war; international politics; ethics and world affairs; and modern political ideologies. Hoffmann has been Chairman of the Centre for European Studies at Harvard since 1969. He also taught at the Institute d'Études Politiques of Paris (from which he graduated), and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.


Hoffmann's book 'The European Sisyphus' contains essays on European integration which outline the development, evolution, crises, progress and reverses of the history of European integration. In his essays Hoffmann describes the process of integration during the period from the 1960s to 1990s. They reflect a drastic change in the international context: the collapse of the Soviet empire, the effects this had on the European Community, Germany's unification and the end of the Cold War. The author himself points out that two of his main concerns, which inspired the essays, were the connections between Western Europe and the United States; and the European entity.

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king of Ephyra punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever. The image of Sisyphus in the title is used to suggest that the shape of EU today is quite different from the supranational dream of its founders and that each leap forward brings with it problems as well as reminders of constant handicaps.