THE FATE OF MAN by Crane- Ed. Brinton


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In seeking a solution to the problem of the ""alienated"" intellectual in today's world, Crane Brinton has compiled a strange and cumbersome collection of writings by a wildly- assorted group of well-known philosophers from many periods of history. Almost all of the essays or quotations are available in other forms, but here we find Aristotle, the Dominican mystic Meister Eckhart, Bonjamin Franklin, Engels, and Freud (plus many others) side by side. What was the purpose? Brinton claims in a prefatory explanation that his selections are meant to serve the ""fit"" reader as steppingstones to thinking. But he uses that same sentence to ""encourage the unfit refrain from going on"". Such snobbery is intellectually intolerable, the more so because one paragraph later Brinton admits to being imprecise as well as snobbish. There is every reason to assemble excerpts from important writings in a compact form to assist those who would do so in re-evaluating their own judgment of ""things as they really are"". But the churlish comments Brinton interpolates at the head of each passage will incense the true intellectual and bewilder the rest of the audience the book might attract. His inclusion of one of his own essays (on ""anti-intellectualism"") does nothing to enhance this reader's image of Brinton as a rather pathetic man lost in a forest of very large intellectual trees.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1961
Publisher: Braziller