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From the best-selling author of How to Live, a spirited account of one of the 20th century's major intellectual movements and the revolutionary thinkers who came to shape it.
Paris, 1933: Three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called phenomenology. "You see," he says, "if you are a phenomenologist, you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!"
It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate phenomenology into his own French humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism. This movement would sweep through the jazz clubs and cafés of the Left Bank before making its way across the world as existentialism.
Featuring not only philosophers but also playwrights, anthropologists, convicts, and revolutionaries, At the Existentialist Café follows the existentialists' story from the first rebellious spark through the Second World War to its role in postwar liberation movements such as anticolonialism, feminism, and gay rights. Interweaving biography and philosophy, it is the epic account of passionate encounters - fights, love affairs, mentorships, rebellions, and long partnerships - and a vital investigation into what the existentialists have to offer us today, at a moment when we are once again confronting the major questions of freedom, global responsibility, and human authenticity in a fractious and technology-driven world.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jet Jackson on 08-03-16
Who knew existentialism could be fun
Would you consider the audio edition of At the Existentialist Café to be better than the print version?
No. Different use. I find quotes in the hard cover, but enjoyed the audio book.
If you could give At the Existentialist Café a new subtitle, what would it be?
Waiter, another round.
Any additional comments?
Well researched and engaging description
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By David A. Wilson Jr. on 07-10-16
Possibly the best book on Audible
This book has won first place in my Audible library (and I have 2 years worth of it). The ease of the performance and content kept me so engaged that I had to find excuses to keep headphones on. Although I am only relatively new to existential thought, I didn't feel disconnected. The story of the individual lives were so well entwined with their respective philosophies that (as well as intertwined) that I felt like I always took away some new insight. Bravo to the author and performer.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful