Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy

Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy

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Overview

This richly detailed biography of a key figure in nineteenth-century philosophy pays equal attention to the life and to the work of Arthur Schopenhauer. Rüdiger Safranski places this visionary skeptic in the context of his philosophical predecessors and contemporaries Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel—and explores the sources of his profound alienation from their “secularized religion of reason.” He also provides a narrative of Schopenhauer’s personal and family life that reads like a Romantic novel: the struggle to break free from a domineering father, the attempt to come to terms with his mother’s literary and social success (she was a well-known writer and a member of Goethe’s Weimar circle), the loneliness and despair when his major philosophical work, The World as Will and Representation, was ignored by the academy. Along the way Safranski portrays the rich culture of Goethe’s Weimar, Hegel’s Berlin, and other centers of German literary and intellectual life.

When Schopenhauer first proposed his philosophy of “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” during the heady “wild years” of Romantic idealism, it found few followers. After the disillusionments and failures of 1848, his work was rediscovered by philosophers and literary figures. Writers from Nietzsche to Samuel Beckett have responded to Schopenhauer’s refusal to seek salvation through history.

The first biography of Schopenhauer to appear in English in this century, Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy succeeds in bringing to life an intriguing figure in philosophy and the intellectual battles of his time, whose consequences still shape our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674792760
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/01/1991
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 404
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Rüdiger Safranski studies German, philosophy, and history in Frankfurt and Berlin. He has worked in adult education and was co-publisher of the magazine Berliner Hefte. He is also the author of a widely acclaimed biography of E. T. A. Hoffman.

Ewald Osers is the distinguished translator of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from German and Czech, including the correspondence of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

Table of Contents

Translator's Note

Preface

Book One

The Warehouse Island

Life and Le Havre

The Mountains and the Counting-House

A Father's Ghost

Weimar

The Outsider

Between Plato and Kant

Fichte and the Ego

The 'Better Consciousness'

Philosophy at Arms

Book Two

The Thinker Without a Stage

Return to Weimar

Goethe

The Will as the 'Thing in Itself'

The World as Will and Representation

The Great No

First Italian Journey

The Unattended Lecturer

Disappointment in Berlin

Flight from Berlin

On the Will in Nature

The Mystery of Freedom

The Mountain Comes to the Prophet

The Comedy of Fame

Chronology

Editions of Schopenhauer's Works, Sources, Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

This biography succeeds admirably in placing Schopenhauer and his work in the varied milieux appropriate to them. The intellectual scene in Europe changed greatly during Schopenhauer's working lifetime, and Safranski is excellent at conveying the atmosphere of the different places and periods...The considerable learning which enables Safranski to put all this together is quite unobtrusive. The style throughout is brisk and keeps the reader's attention...It is a book the literate public will read with enjoyment.

J. B. Schneewind

This biography succeeds admirably in placing Schopenhauer and his work in the varied milieux appropriate to them. The intellectual scene in Europe changed greatly during Schopenhauer's working lifetime, and Safranski is excellent at conveying the atmosphere of the different places and periods...The considerable learning which enables Safranski to put all this together is quite unobtrusive. The style throughout is brisk and keeps the reader's attention...It is a book the literate public will read with enjoyment.
J. B. Schneewind, Johns Hopkins University

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