MARTIN HEIDEGGER: An Illustrated Study by Walter Biemel

MARTIN HEIDEGGER: An Illustrated Study

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This translation of a 1973 German study is packaged like a basic introduction to Heidegger's life and work. There are 32 pages of photographs, the standard capsule biography, and an excerpt from Hannah Arendt's appealing New York Review tribute to her teacher. But it is substantially a cramped, rather technical outline of the course of Heidegger's thought, certainly not written with non-specialist English readers in mind. Biemel closely examines portions of seven key works--from magnum opus Being and Time (1927) to ""The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking"" (1964)--and he perceptively identifies the question of the meaning of Being and the manner of its disclosure as the double leitmotif running through all the writings. But Biemel's intricate summaries of the complex original texts do not amount to much more than the ""garbled repetition"" he seeks to avoid. Probably the only people able to absorb what he almost despairingly concedes is an ""inadequate and awkward exposition"" (now made doubly problematic by the wooden and unhelpful translation) will be those expert enough in German philosophy not to need it. His aim of simply encouraging the reader to read the original texts would seem much better served by collecting the basic writings and outfitting them with useful introductions--which happily is precisely what D. F. Krell has now done (see below).

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich