Schopenhauer and the Wild Years of Philosophy

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Harvard University Press, 1990 - Biography & Autobiography - 385 pages

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.


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User Review  - AMD3075 - LibraryThing

For those within whom passion for the experience of life rushes vigorously, much of philosophy comes across cold and sterile, disturbingly lacking in humanness in its schematic generality, emphasis on ... Read full review

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User Review  - durk - LibraryThing

excellent book. Made me very interested in Schopenhauer. I am now slowly reading Schopenhauer, World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauers idea about knowledge of the wordl is outdated but his human approach is good. Read full review


Life and Le Havre
The Mountains and the CountingHouse
A Fathers Ghost
The Outsider
Between Plato and Kant
Fichte and the Ego i
Philosophy at Arms
The World as Will and Representation
The Great No
First Italian Journey
Disappointment in Berlin
Flight from Berlin
On the Will in Nature
The Mystery of Freedom
The Mountain Comes to the Prophet

Return to Weimar
The Will as the Thing in Itself
The Comedy of Fame

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About the author (1990)

RÃ1⁄4diger Safranski studies German, philosophy, and history in Frankfurt and Berlin. He has worked in adult education and was copublisher of the magazine Berlin 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.

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