THE LYRICAL EXISTENTIALISTS by Thomas Hanna

THE LYRICAL EXISTENTIALISTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

According to Hanna, a young writer and professor, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Camus present a triumvirate of the modern sensibility which links the last century with the present, not as an ideological chain reaction, but rather as an outburst of the subjectivist ode, anti-systematic, passionately of-the-moment, and both joyous and sad. Thus he calls them The Lyrical Existentialists and investigates, interprets and extols the triple achievement. His own as critic, however, is somewhat less triumphant, for though he writes with eloquence and elegance, his central thesis tends to blur the differing visions of the three men here. The redemptive Christ of Kierkegaard equated with Nietzsche's heroic pagan resulting in the atheistic humanism of Camus is never too successfully established, other than in the fact that all strove for a goal not yet attainable. Nevertheless, Mr. Hanna admirably defends the aratio-nalism of the Dionysian will-to-power, movingly redefines the plight of Camus' heroes and Kierkegaard's personal entanglements, and floods all his chapters with an ardor not usually found in works of this sort. It his approach is more emotional than analytical, no one will mind too much- and he is certain to find a sympathetic audience on the campus.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1961
Publisher: Atheneum