One of the most influential works of this century, The Myth of Sisyphus--featured here in a stand-alone edition--is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought. Influenced by works such as Don Juan and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide--the question of living or not living in a universe devoid of order or meaning. With lyric eloquence, Albert Camus brilliantly posits a way out of despair, reaffirming the value of personal existence, and the possibility of life lived with dignity and authenticity.
"When it comes to living, there's no getting out alive. But books can help us survive, so to speak, by passing on what is most important about being human before we perish. In The Existentialist's Survival Guide, Marino has produced an honest and moving book of self-help for readers generally disposed to loathe the genre." --The Wall Street Journal
Sophisticated self-help for the 21st century--when every crisis feels like an existential crisis
Soren Kierkegaard, Frederick Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and other towering figures of existentialism grasped that human beings are, at heart, moody creatures, susceptible to an array of psychological setbacks, crises of faith, flights of fancy, and other emotional ups and downs. Rather than understanding moods--good and bad alike--as afflictions to be treated with pharmaceuticals, this swashbuckling group of thinkers generally known as existentialists believed that such feelings not only offer enduring lessons about living a life of integrity, but also help us discern an inner spark that can inspire spiritual development and personal transformation. To listen to Kierkegaard and company, how we grapple with these feelings shapes who we are, how we act, and, ultimately, the kind of lives we lead.
In The Existentialist's Survival Guide, Gordon Marino, director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College and boxing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, recasts the practical takeaways existentialism offers for the twenty-first century. From negotiating angst, depression, despair, and death to practicing faith, morality, and love, Marino dispenses wisdom on how to face existence head-on while keeping our hearts intact, especially when the universe feels like it's working against us and nothing seems to matter.
What emerges are life-altering and, in some cases, lifesaving epiphanies--existential prescriptions for living with integrity, courage, and authenticity in an increasingly chaotic, uncertain, and inauthentic age.
--The Los Angeles Review of Books
Jean-Paul Sartre was a man of staggering gifts, whose accomplishments as philosopher, novelist, playwright, biographer, and activist still command attention and inspire debate. Sartre's restless intelligence may have found its most characteristic outlet in the open-ended form of the essay. For Sartre the essay was an essentially dramatic form, the record of an encounter, the framing of a choice. Whether writing about literature, art, politics, or his own life, he seizes our attention and drives us to grapple with the living issues that are at stake.We Have Only This Life to Live is the first gathering of Sartre's essays in English to draw on all ten volumes of Situations, the title under which Sartre collected his essays during his life, while also featuring previously uncollected work, including the reports Sartre filed during his 1945 trip to America. Here Sartre writes about Faulkner, Bataille, Giacometti, Fanon, the liberation of France, torture in Algeria, existentialism and Marxism, friends lost and found, and much else. We Have Only This Life to Live provides an indispensable, panoramic view of the world of Jean-Paul Sartre.
In The Present Age, S ren Kierkegaard analyzes the philosophical implications of a society dominated by mass media. What makes this essay so remarkable is that, although it was written in 1846, it seems to speak directly to twenty-first century culture, where life is dominated more by "information" than actual "knowledge." Kierkegaard goes so far as to say that advertising and publicity almost immediately co-opts and suppresses revolutionary thoughts or actions. The Present Age is essential reading for anyone who wishes to explore the role of media in the modern world. Walter Kaufmann, in his introduction to the book, says: "In The Present Age we find the heart of Kierkegaard."S ren Kierkegaard (1813-55) continues to exercise a wide influence on philosophy, literature, and theology. Many of his books were published under exotic pseudonyms, and explored different dimensions of life outside Christianity. These include Either/Or, Fear and Trembling and The Concept of Anxiety. He also wrote a number of more directly devotional works, including Works of Love, but in the last years of his life attacked the established Church in a series of polemical leaflets. "By far the most profound thinker of the 19th century." - Ludwig Wittgenstein--Walter Kaufman, from the Introduction
Whether framed philosophically as "Why is there a world rather than nothing at all?" or more colloquially as "But, Mommy, who made God?" the metaphysical mystery about how we came into existence remains the most fractious and fascinating question of all time. Following in the footsteps of Christopher Hitchens, Roger Penrose, and even Stephen Hawking, Jim Holt emerges with an engrossing narrative that traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. As he takes on the role of cosmological detective, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God vs. the Big Bang. Whether interviewing a cranky Oxford philosopher, a Physics Nobel Laureate, or a French Buddhist monk, Holt pursues unexplored and often bizarre angles to this cosmic puzzle. The result is a brilliant synthesis of cosmology, mathematics, and physics--one that propels his own work to the level of philosophy itself.
Tackling the darkest question in all of philosophy with raffish erudition (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This deft and consuming (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts."
Pope Pius XII condemned Existentialism for its 'terrifying nihilism'. Anguish, despair, absurdity, nothingness...these still have a power to scandalise. Do we find in them the quintessence of Existentialism? Or has Existentialism's truth been eclipsed by its popular appeal? Richard Appignanesi begins with Camus and suicide: 'Must life have a meaning to be lived?' Is absurdity at the heart of Existentialism? Or is there a question as yet unexplored in Sartre - Existentialism, 'the least scandalous, most technically austere' of all teachings? The answer is found in Husserl's phenomenology, from which Heidegger, Sartre and others depart. We encounter Kierkegaard, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche, and always in the background a history of dark times - our legacy of Nazism and the Cold War - overcasting the search. This is a book of undergoing Existentialism. Can it have meaning in our age of postmodern crisis?
Among all the great thinkers of the past two hundred years, Nietzsche continues to occupy a special place--not only for a broad range of academics but also for members of a wider public, who find some of their most pressing existential concerns addressed in his works. Central among these concerns is the question of the meaning of a life characterized by inescapable suffering, at a time when the traditional responses inspired by Christianity are increasingly losing their credibility. While most recent studies of Nietzsche's works have lost sight of this fundamental issue, Bernard Reginster's book The Affirmation of Life brings it sharply into focus.
Reginster identifies overcoming nihilism as a central objective of Nietzsche's philosophical project, and shows how this concern systematically animates all of his main ideas. In particular, Reginster's work develops an original and elegant interpretation of the will to power, which convincingly explains how Nietzsche uses this doctrine to mount a critique of the dominant Christian values, to overcome the nihilistic despair they produce, and to determine the conditions of a new affirmation of life. Thus, Reginster attributes to Nietzsche a compelling substantive ethical outlook based on the notions of challenge and creativity--an outlook that involves a radical reevaluation of the role and significance of suffering in human existence.
Replete with deeply original insights on many familiar--and frequently misunderstood--Nietzschean concepts, Reginster's book will be essential to anyone approaching this towering figure of Western intellectual history.