THE WORLDS OF EXISTENTIALISM by Maurice-Ed. Friedman

THE WORLDS OF EXISTENTIALISM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Existentialism, once that daring, declasse movement of modern thought, is now in the charmed circle of fashionable respectability (and so much the worse for it, some will say). This ""critical reader"" is really a repertory company whose members -- all the major figures of crisis philosophy, literature, theology and evenit seems- psychology- troop on stage and present or play-out the most signal sections of their oeuvres. It's a tremendous book, the most inclusive, the most pains-taking and the most profitable of any similar blockbuster anthology, and students and teachers will be using it for many, many a moon. The impressario is Maurice Friedman, a noted Buber explicator and author of Problematic Rebel- parts of which he has excerpted here- a study of modern man's ""depth-image"" as plumbed by (of course) the existentialists. The selections are subsumed under themes rather than by authors. The groupings: the forerunners (e.g. the Bible, Eckhart, Pascal); phenomenology (e.g. Dilthey, Husserl, Jaspers); subjectivity, intersubjectivity, and cultural-religious issues (e.g. Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Buber, Sartre, Rilke, Kafka, Tillich, Maritain); and finally- and surprisingly- the largest section, psychotherapy (Binswanger, Boss, May, Frankl, Moreno). Friedman's introductions to each part and his concluding thoughts are remarkably suggestive on certain points, crankily challenging on others (the Sartre attack) and sometimes misty (interpreting existentialism as a tendency or as ""moods"" or as an absurdist dialogue). There are some translation ""firsts"": Rosenzweig, Straus, Turb, von Weizsacher; and a bit of (gratuitous) scandal: Heidegger's early pro-Nazi speeches.

Publisher: Random House