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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Classics
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (April 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375759891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375759895
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.2 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Basic Writings of Existentialism will be, for many, a reminder of what first drew them to existentialism and, simply, to philosophy. Marino's introductory essays, taut, instructive, well-tuned to the drumbeat of each thinker's passions and concerns, and the substantial selections from the foremost representatives of the movement, are a benediction. In defiance of Hegel's pronouncements, the thinkers included here introduce us to a philosophy in present tense, and preferably in the active voice. Readers new to existentialism have as reliable a guide as the subject matter permits. Those familiar with movement have an occasion for recollection and more."
—Vanessa Rumble, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Boston College

”This book is a perfect choice for all who wonder what existentialism is all about. The key writers are included -- Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Dostoevsky from the19th Century, and Heudegger, Sartre, and Camus, from the 20th Century. It's good to see selections from Simone de Beauvoir and Ralph Ellison, as well. Marino has a sharp eye for picking telling passages from often long and complex works. It's now clear that existentialism is one of the enduring traditions in Western Philosophy, Art, and Religion, a perspective that articulates and responds to the deepest human needs. These fresh selections lay out the issues, from alienation to reconciliation, from despair to joyful wisdom, that make this world-perspective so compelling. Marino's introductions to each writer, and his introductory overview, are lively and capture the spirit of the chosen texts. A profound adventure awaits those readers ready to immerse themselves in this jewel of a book.”
—Edward F. Mooney, Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Syracuse University

"With superb selections and strongly supportive introductory biographies, this is in my judgment the best existentialism anthology out there."
—Merold Westphal, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Fordham University

About the Author

Gordon Marino is professor of philosophy, Boldt Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He was research fellow at the Kierkegaard Biblioteket in Copenhagen for three years. He is also co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard and author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Michael L. Kauffmann on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read a good chunk of this text for my German Existentialism class and will absolutely be reading the rest of it on my own. Marino does an excellent job compiling a wide range of existentialist thought and adding short, concise introductions to each philosopher. Even more difficult philosophers like Heidegger and Kierkegaard are made approachable by careful selection from their major works. For people approaching existentialism for the first time I would suggest this book in addition to William Barrett's The Irrational Man, the latter giving a better groundwork for the entire philosophy and Marino's text providing some of the best and most vivid examples of existentialist philosophy.

Existentialism is not for the meek. The texts are difficult and many of the questions they raise may result in life altering answers. For those willing to take the plunge this should not be a deterent, but merely a bump in the road. Marino has selected pieces that can at first seem utterly baffling, but with careful readings (Yes, readings. Things get easier the second time!) all of them are accessible and the benefits and real world applications (Existentialism pops up everywhere--movies, tv, music, art, politics, religion, etc. It is, after all, about existence!) of existentialism are impossible to measure.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stevenson on November 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you have ever wondered about the universal need for us to find meaning in being, this book is a fine start to launching a personal journey. It is a remarkable piece of scholarship wherein Professor Marino superbly accomplishes the three tasks of a master teacher: relevance, erudition, and invitation.

Since nothing can be more relevant that the meaning of life, and existentialism posits that such meanings are feats of human alchemy (creating something from nothing), the ideas under review are nothing short of an amazing intellectual asdventure into the worlds of erudition (key passages from esistential writers), biography (tumbnail descriptions of the writers' lives) and an invitation to explore a stream of philosophical thought which includes Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, de Unamundo y Juego, Heidegger, Satre, de Beauvoir, Camus and Ellison. Students and members of the educated public may recognize some of these names, but many may have never engaged these thinkwers in a sustained manner. Here is your chance to discover what is happening in philiosophy departments. If your field is one of the social sciences, the work serves as a vital reference book--a source of insight and an effectivwe way to reflect on one's previous learning experiences.

Professor Morino's Introduction, alone, is worth the price of the book because he, like most of us, initially turned to philosophy to seek "answers", but discovered that ideas are powerful and are themselves a way of life. It is a sheer joy to follow his journey in this domain becaue he implicitly shows his enthusiasm for this material through his careful selections.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T-Bone on February 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So, maybe through no fault of its own, I find this book EXTREMELY difficult to read. I tried on several occasions to engage in what was being said, but found myself glazing over and losing interest entirely. I had much better luck reading Existentialism For Dummies. I don't consider myself extremely intelligent, but I do think I have a better-than-average ability to understand most new things and possess a great deal of common sense. Having said this, I found this book to be so... I can't even put it into words. In other words, if you are looking for an introduction to existentialism, this isn't your book!! Seriously...try Existentialism For Dummies (also sold on Amazon) and you'll actually walk away feeling like you've learned something.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By eug kwon on November 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is great! Marino chooses key passages written by what can be regarded at the founders of existentialistic thought. A very good introduction into existentialism and just a nice book to read in general. Very highly recommend.
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By moises nadal on April 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This text lives up to my expectations as a presentation and learned discussion of the subject matter at hand.
Wonderful Book
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By W. Obrien on February 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
There is not much to say here except, download and read this book. The only advice I would suggest is to read a bit and then try and absorb what you just read, because it's easy to read and get completely overwhelmed.
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