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The Spinoza Problem: A Novel
 
 
Author
Irvin D. Yalom.
Publisher Basic Books  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9780465029631
Pages/Publication Date 321/2012
Daedalus Item Code 30260
This item is not available.
Description
When 16-year-old Alfred Rosenberg is called into his headmaster's office for anti-Semitic remarks, he is made to memorize passages about Baruch Spinoza from Goethe's autobiography, and the arrogant student is stunned to discover that his idol was a great admirer of this 17th-century Jewish philosopher. Long after his graduation—even after he becomes an architect of Nazi Germany's genocidal policies—Rosenberg remains haunted by the "Spinoza problem": How could the genius Goethe, a founder of Germanic culture, have been inspired by a Jew? Psychotherapist and novelist Irvin Yalom compares and explores the inner lives of a saintly secular philosopher and a godless mass murderer.

"Spinoza had no 'real life' outside his reading and writing: he lived in his brilliant mind. So how do you write about a philosopher—a writer beloved of Goethe, Schopenhauer, and so many other thinkers—who spent most of his time in thought? And how do you regard Spinoza—a Jew whose work helped to usher in the Enlightenment—if, indeed, you're a Nazi? Irvin Yalom is just the writer to take on such a problem, and he solves it, with his own novelistic brilliance, in this vibrant book. In my view, Yalom is one of the most eclectic, wide-ranging, and dazzling writers of our time."—Jay Parini

"As an accessible introduction to Spinoza's complex philosophy, Yalom's method has much to recommend it. Like a good teacher, he presents only a few ideas at a time and moves carefully from one to the next with frequent recapitulation.... The conversations he creates give a lovely sense of the philosopher's character and provide a lucid explanation of the man's major ideas about nature, free will, and reason."—Washington Post

 
 
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