A lovely jeu d’esprit for those waiters who like their abeyance with a touch of the metaphysical.



What are we doing when we aren’t doing anything?

We’re waiting. Or, as Köhler would prefer, we’re passing time. As Mark Lilla notes in his foreword: “Man is the waiting animal….What exactly is it to wait?” Köhler, the cultural correspondent for a Swiss daily newspaper and winner of the 2003 Berlin Book Critics Prize, posits, “waiting is a state in which time holds its breath in order to remind us of our mortality. Its motto is not carpe diem but memento mori.” Now available in English, her extended essay is a hybrid: part meditation, part philosophy, part autobiographical musings. One comment about waiting leads to another, which leads to some author’s comment on the first comment, which leads to another comment. The book reads like a string of epigrammatic musings. Köhler goes on to describe all manners of waiting and their significance, creating a sort of taxonomy of waiting. There’s anxiety, hesitation, expectation, laggardness, etc. She draws on a wide variety of writers, mostly European, to help her along the way: Barthes, Benjamin, Foucault, Camus, Blanchot, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Peter Handke, the self-proclaimed “lover of waiting.” Köhler describes him as “one of the staunchest defenders of slowness in our time.” As she sees it, waiting is a good thing. It’s not a waste of time but rather a use of time. She also references Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise and its sequel, Before Sunset, both of which address an ages-old question: is there someone out there, waiting for me? Of course, Waiting for Godot makes an appearance. Poor Vladimir and Estragon “practice waiting for its own sake and with no particular goal in mind.” We wait with them, confronting matters of existence and eschatology while time is passing. As Vladimir says, “it would have passed in any case.”

A lovely jeu d’esprit for those waiters who like their abeyance with a touch of the metaphysical.

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-935830-48-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Upper West Side Philosophers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.


A compendium of charts, time lines, lists and illustrations to accompany study of the Bible.

This visually appealing resource provides a wide array of illustrative and textually concise references, beginning with three sets of charts covering the Bible as a whole, the Old Testament and the New Testament. These charts cover such topics as biblical weights and measures, feasts and holidays and the 12 disciples. Most of the charts use a variety of illustrative techniques to convey lessons and provide visual interest. A worthwhile example is “How We Got the Bible,” which provides a time line of translation history, comparisons of canons among faiths and portraits of important figures in biblical translation, such as Jerome and John Wycliffe. The book then presents a section of maps, followed by diagrams to conceptualize such structures as Noah’s Ark and Solomon’s Temple. Finally, a section on Christianity, cults and other religions describes key aspects of history and doctrine for certain Christian sects and other faith traditions. Overall, the authors take a traditionalist, conservative approach. For instance, they list Moses as the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) without making mention of claims to the contrary. When comparing various Christian sects and world religions, the emphasis is on doctrine and orthodox theology. Some chapters, however, may not completely align with the needs of Catholic and Orthodox churches. But the authors’ leanings are muted enough and do not detract from the work’s usefulness. As a resource, it’s well organized, inviting and visually stimulating. Even the most seasoned reader will learn something while browsing.

Worthwhile reference stuffed with facts and illustrations.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-1-5963-6022-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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