From Publishers Weekly
Though this slim volume is more a postmodern Cliffs Notes than a guide, readers who want to learn more about the big boys of Western thought have a fine tutor in Gombrowicz. Gliding effortlessly between straightforward exposition and far-reaching interpretation, with a healthy dose of respectful lampooning in between, Gombrowicz casts a lively, though dizzying, spell; on Schopenhauer's worldview: "It is a grandiose and tragic vision which, unfortunately, coincides perfectly with reality." Though his fluid prose sometimes obscures his meaning (considering Hegel's progress of reason, Gombrowicz's prose reads more like a performance: "Beyond time and space. There will no longer be any movement. Then poof! the ABSOLUTE."). Although the book covers no more than the standard group of Europeon Philosophy 101 figures (Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Marx, Nietzsche), it's far from introductory, playing fast and loose with some tricky concepts; readers entirely unfamiliar with the thinkers will find themselves lost at times, but the philosophy-conversant will find thought-provoking analysis and more than a few laughs.
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From the Back Cover
Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969), novelist, essayist, and playwright, was one of the most important Polish writers of the twentieth century. A candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, he was described by Milan Kundera as one of the great novelists of our century” and by John Updike as one of the profoundest of the late moderns.”
Gombrowicz’s works were considered scandalous and subversive by the ruling powers in Poland and were banned for nearly forty years. He spent his last years in France teaching philosophy; this book is a series of reflections based on his lectures.
Gombrowicz discusses Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger in six one-hour” essays and addresses Marxism in a shorter fifteen-minute” piece. The texta small literary gem full of sardonic wit, brilliant insights, and provocative criticismconstructs the philosophical lineage of his work.