TO DENY OUR NOTHINGNESS by Maurice Friedman

TO DENY OUR NOTHINGNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The founding fathers of existentialist thought have all been tormented souls, outcasts from togetherness and grant-in-aids, quite unlike their academic descendants who industriously fill the coffers with more and more explications on ""crisis literature,"" the death of what's-His-name, and the absurd. One of the better examples of such proliferation is Professor Friedman: in the space of three or four years he has brought forth an anthology as large as the human condition, The Worlds of Existentialism, and a densely-packed, imaginative study, Problematic Rebel. Both works are echoed in To Deny Our Nothingness, where Friedman once again trots out his profoundly fuzzy differences between the concept of man and the image of man. The former is an outworn abstraction, an heirloom of unproblematic times; the latter is what we struggle to achieve now when the heavens are dark, when redemptive history is a mater of dialogical relationships between man and man (Friedman is also a translator and student of Buber). Anyway, amidst the modish paradoxes and somewhat theatricalized philosophy and theology we are rewarded by a number of very informative and striking discussions of emblematic figures, from Nietzsche to Kazantzakis, Simone Weil to Camus, Bergson to Eliot, and so forth, all grouped under various categories: the Modern Socialist, Vitalist, Mystic, ""Saint,"" Gnostic, Psychological Man, Pragmatic Man, Absurd Man. Comprehensive, spirited, often eloquent, the book can serve as a fine survey of our cultural taxonomy.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1967
Publisher: Delacorte