Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jan 26, 2011 - Philosophy - 320 pages
5 Reviews
Widely recognized as the finest definition of existentialist philosophy ever written, this book introduced existentialism to America in 1958. Barrett speaks eloquently and directly to concerns of the 1990s: a period when the irrational and the absurd are no better integrated than before and when humankind is in even greater danger of destroying its existence without ever understanding the meaning of its existence.

Irrational Man begins by discussing the roots of existentialism in the art and thinking of Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Baudelaire, Blake, Dostoevski, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Picasso, Joyce, and Beckett. The heart of the book explains the views of the foremost existentialists—Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. The result is a marvelously lucid definition of existentialism and a brilliant interpretation of its impact.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - madepercy - LibraryThing

This book provides an overview of existentialism. Originally written in 1958, Barrett was bringing the tradition of existentialism (leading to Sartre) to the United States. That the book is set in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Read this book before you decide to call yourself an existentialist. Barrett will broaden your understanding of both the philosophy and its historical foundations. Read full review

Contents

The Advent of Existentialism
3
The Encounter with Nothingness
23
The Testimony of Modern Art
42
THE SOURCES OF EXISTENTIALISM
67
THE EXISTENTIALISTS
127
Sartre
239
The Place of the Furies
267
Negation Finitude and the Nature
283
Existence and Analytic Philosophers
295
INDEX
307
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About the author (2011)

William Barrett is widely known as one of the first philosophers to introduce existentialism to America. Besides a long and distinguished career as a professor of philosophy, he was editor of Partisan Review and the literary critic for Atlantic Monthly. Barrett authored The Illusion of Technique and The Truants, among other books. He died in 1992, at the age of 78.

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