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Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback – March 1, 1975
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About the Author
Walter Kaufmann (1921-1980) was professor of philosophy at Princeton University from 1947 until his death. He had visiting appointments at Columbia, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and the University of Washington among others. His books include The Future of the Humanities, Religion from Tolstoy to Camus, and the three volume series entitled Discovering the Mind.
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Top Customer Reviews
The selections in this book were chosen for their readability, not their weight, so academic philosophers may find this book lacking. But were it not for books like this, which enchant the layman and force him (or her) to examine primary sources, would there be any philosophy majors?
From Camus' notion of a sustaining inward rebellion, to Sartre's brilliant reevaluation of ethics (prose in "Self-deception", poetry in "The Wall"), to the great battle over Christianity between Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, there is certainly something of vital importance to most people contained in these pages. As an individual's right is sovereign, I will not urge you to like this book, or even to read it - this, like all things, you must decide for yourself.
Along with William Barrett's 'Irrational Man,' this is the best introduction one can find to that much-maligned, much-misunderstood yet ever-popular chimera of 20th C. philosophy: existentialism.
Kaufmann is as objective as one can be, when offering a critique of thinkers and thoughts. HE IS ALSO VERY LUCID. HE WRITES CLEARLY. This is a qualaty you will not find often when perusing most high-minded 20th C. texts. He doesn't talk down to his audience and presumes a level of cultural literacy, but he steadfastly refuses to fall prey to that most insidious and seductive of academic flaws: jargon juggling.
He capably traces the roots of existentialism in various literary works and shows how the sensibilities expressed in exstlsm. are repeatedly expressed throughout western culture.
People are divided on both the subject and the book, but that is natural: par example... Students of hermenuetics and disciples of heidegger feel that Kaufmann is biased against ole Martin, or that he spends too little time on him. And devotees of Sartre feel likewise. Many think he's too kind to Nietzsche. I disagree with all of the above. I think he treats each thinker succinctly and fairly, rooting them in their context and then looking at what they had to say.
Existentialism. This is a word one hears often. It is Misused every day by pretentious half-wits of all variety. Here, in one clear volume, you have a fine key for the door. A great starting place.
PS Kaufmann's book on philosophy and tragedy is the finest I have ever read. Used ones abound for under 8 dollars in here.
Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, by Walter Kaufmann is a must have for anyone seriously undertaking a jaunt into the Realm of Existentialism and Phenomenology.
Although a small book, the paperback edition weighing in at a mere 384 pages, one will find that Kaufmann has packed it to the gills with usable, and reliable, information. Whole chapters are devoted to Existentialist giants like: Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground, Kierkegaard: The First Existentialist, Nietzsche: "Live Dangerously", Rilke: The Notes of Malte Laurids Brigge, Kafka: Three Parables, Ortega: "Man Has No Nature", Jaspers: Existenzphilosophie, Heidegger: The Quest for Being, Sartre: Existentialism, and Camus: The Myth of Sisyphus.
One should be aware that there are a lot of different writing styles, because of all the different authors, being introduced in one book. So, in some ways, to the casual reader Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre may seem a bit choppy and academic, intimidating and complex. --Katharena Eiermann, 2005, the Realm of Existentialism -- Presidential Hopeful
This is a good choice for anyone interested in an intelligent introduction to existentialism.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book that I received did not have the same cover as this one. The cover of the one I ordered was white with orange and blue writings. Hope it's the right book I need. Read morePublished 9 days ago by EggtSr
At times it was a struggle to stay focused on the complex ideas presented in this book, but taking the time to understand the content pays big dividends. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chauncey
Easiest introduction to some difficult and/or prolific existentialist thinkers. The selections with regard to Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky are especially well chosen.Published 8 months ago by James Hubka
Used this for a class in college. Was the book I needed for cheap...Published 10 months ago by Kelli
I gave this book to my son. Everytime I talk to him he is quoting and telling me how this book has "opened his eyes" in many ways to life.Published 15 months ago by Connie S. Riddle
If you want a book filled with new and exciting ideas about the reality you live in, this is not for you. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Glenn Lyvers (Masthead at Prolific Press)
I've been familiar with this volume for about 17 years, since I became aware of philosophy in college. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Pen Name?