THE MOST DIFFICULT BOOKS EVER WRITTEN

A Listmania! list by Brian A. Oard (Midwestern USA)
The list author says: "Here's a list of EXTREMELY difficult books that are still (probably) worth reading."
Phenomenology of Spirit
1.  Phenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
The list author says:
  "Whew! This is hard. Hegel's 'Phenomenology' may be the slowest read ever written."
$14.49   Used & New from: $5.67
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Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)
2.  Finnegans Wake (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) by James Joyce
The list author says:
  "If you believe in reincarnation, you might spend several lives plumbing the depths of every paragraph in this book. It's the Great Impossible Novel."
$13.22   Used & New from: $4.80
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The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Paperbook)
3.  The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Paperbook) by Ezra Pound
The list author says:
  "If you can keep every image and every theme in your head simultaneously it might all add up to...well, to something. There are wonderful passages here, if you're willing to dig through the dross."
$19.60   Used & New from: $14.63
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Being and Nothingness
4.  Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre
The list author says:
  "This is Sartre at his most technical. Again, there's some great stuff in here."
$12.01   Used & New from: $3.71
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English
5.  Ecrits: The First Complete Edition in English by Jacques Lacan
The list author says:
  "Lacan writes in an intentionally difficult, obscure style. Interesting ideas, but couldn't they be expressed more clearly??"
$21.75   Used & New from: $13.24
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (Vol. Book XI)  (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan)
6.  The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (Vol. Book XI) (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan) by Jacques Lacan
The list author says:
  "This is what passes for clarity in Lacan's oeuvre. It's still pretty tough."
$17.97   Used & New from: $6.74
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Margins of Philosophy
7.  Margins of Philosophy by Jacques Derrida
The list author says:
  "The essay 'Differance,' included here is wrongly considered a good intro to Derrida's thought. A much easier point of entry to Derrida is the essay 'Force and Signification' in "Writing and Difference.""
$24.03   Used & New from: $6.29
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Glas
8.  Glas by Jacques Derrida
The list author says:
  "Whoa! What's that now, Jacques?"
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Selected Poems (Poets, Penguin)
9.  Selected Poems (Poets, Penguin) by John Ashbery
The list author says:
  "Some of Ashbery's poems are brain-breakingly difficult."
$18.43   Used & New from: $4.99
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Critique of Pure Reason (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant)
10.  Critique of Pure Reason (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant) by Immanuel Kant
The list author says:
  "An important work, or so I've heard."
$32.10   Used & New from: $16.15
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (English and German Edition)
11.  The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (English and German Edition) by Stephen Mitchell
The list author says:
  "Try to keep all of the Duino Elegies in your head at once. Only then will you understand them as a whole."
$13.55   Used & New from: $1.80
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Complete Poems of Hart Crane (Centennial Edition)
12.  The Complete Poems of Hart Crane (Centennial Edition) by Hart Crane
The list author says:
  "I've spent several years now trying to understand exactly what happens at the end of "The Broken Tower." It's some kind of dialectical synthesis that pushes language to the beaking point. Or something like that..."
$13.97   Used & New from: $3.32
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Being and Time: A Translation of Sein und Zeit (SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)
13.  Being and Time: A Translation of Sein und Zeit (SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy) by Martin Heidegger
The list author says:
  "ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH! Heidegger is best taken in very small doses."
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4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Brian A. Oard (Midwestern USA)
Qualifications: 'Difficult' Person
Last updated: 6/13/07
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