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The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers (Philosophy Of Popular Culture) Hardcover – December 12, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Philosophy of the Coen Brothers offers a very smart, provocative, and stylishly written set of essays on the films of the Coen brothers. The volume makes a convincing case for reading their films within a wide array of philosophic contexts and persuasively demonstrates that the films of the Coen brothers often implicitly and sometimes explicitly engage with central issues in the history of western philosophy from Plato and Aristotle to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Baudrillard, and MacIntyre." Michael Valdez Moses, author of The Novel and the Globalization of Culture"

"This volume is written for both fans of the Coen brothers and the philosophically curious, without the technical language. Both educational and entertaining, this philosophical compilation is recommended for public and academic libraries, particularly those with degree programs in philosophy and film."―Joshua Finnell, Library Journal"―

About the Author

Mark T. Conard is assistant professor of philosophy at Marymount College. He is the series editor of The Philosophy of Popular Culture series and the editor of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Film Noir, The Philosophy of Neo-Noir, and The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese.
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Product Details

  • Series: Philosophy Of Popular Culture
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (December 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081312526X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813125268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Review Guy on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Friedrich Nietzsche believed for a time that the composer Richard Wagner would be able to unite all the noble impulses of art into an opera capable of sublimating European culture, just as classical tragedy ennobled the Athenians. Wagner failed, even in Nietzsche's judgement, but I am reminded of him every time I see a Coen Brothers film. Like Wagner, they have created a stage upon which the plastic/Apollonian (cinematography, lighting, set and costume) engages the musical/Dionysian (script, drama, soundtrack). But where Wagner failed, the Coens have succeeded. Their films together constitute the rebirth of tragedy here in modern America - a multimedia art of moral choice, with a philosophical vocabulary and contemporary significance. There's nothing deeper or more relevant on the American scene.

And I guess that accounts for just why this book so utterly blows the doors off any other "Philosophy of" book I've encountered. Like Woody Allen or Stanley Kubrick, the Coens produce film that is not merely philosophical, but is philosophy itself - the kind of art that drives fans to study philosophy in the first place.

But, in approaching the Coens, you do need some guidance. These are two guys who know the canon, cold, from Homer (O Brother Where Art Though) to Kant (See Walter in the Big Lebowski) to Heidegger (Barton Fink). At least part of the opacity of their films stems from the audiences unfamiliarity with these themes. And this is where this book comes in handy. This is a collection of truly thoughtful, high caliber works of scholarly criticism. It is so much better than similar titles like "The Simpsons and Philosophy" that I kinda wish it had a different title.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Case TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an essential book if you are doing college-level research and analysis concerning the Cohen Brothers’ films. Each essay is by a different Cohen scholar and each concerns a specific film. Some essays were better than others. One author was particularly irritating and difficult to understand, but for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed all the essays in this resource and found them extremely useful while I was attending this course.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Crimson on April 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you value and appreciate great film making and script writing this book breaks down the fundamentals of philosophy by the Coens through short essays.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anthony E. Pomes on July 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book provides a fantastic and long overdue intertextual analysis of what the Coen Brothers have aimed to capture on screen and harness from the soul . . . what emerges most strongly is a sense of how terribly important NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN has been in terms of narrative evolution and an exchange of meta-cinema for a kind of pure storytelling - similar in structure and effect to the brutally succinct writings of William S. Burroughs. I recommend this book highly, because this is the time for more of us to look extra hard at the work of the Coen Brothers . . . their filmic America stands now as a very reliable and unrusted mirror of where we all are today . . . and may NOT be tomorrow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alonzo Rumfelt on March 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't read the entire thing (it's in storage, now), but what I read was enjoyable and helped connect ideas that I was looking at in philosophy with the movies of some of my favorite writers/directors!
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