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a worthwhile reminder of what the existentialists have done and still do for our modern day society and the humanistic, gender-specific, cultural and existence questioning problems and thoughts we all face every day.
I came to this knowing a little about Sartre from 35 years ago, and thinking that it might be a fairly light recounting of him and his times (including the famous relationship with de Beauvoir). It does cover those topics, but much, much more. Bakewell's work gives a wider view of Existentialism and it's roots in Phenomenology. So if you have an interest in these things (and perhaps that is a given, if you're reading this review) I can highly recommend this book.
The sections can be quite long (my attention span is not what it was) so may need judicious choices about when to have that cup of coffee (or perhaps the apricot cocktail). Bakewell is clear about differences between the proponents and why they fell out when they did. Her summaries are from her own opinions, and not always quite how I expected her to feel. De Beauvoir, in particular, is given good coverage in what is otherwise a very male domain.
Antonia Beamish does an excellent job of the narration, helping to maintain the clarity that I'm sure Bakewell put there.
So if you might like to know how Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger, Murdoch and all the other Names interacted and influenced one another, this is an excellent book to come to.
41 of 42 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this book. It puts the lives of Hüsserl, Heidigger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus et al into the context of their experience of the world, politics, history and each other. It makes no excuses for their flaws, explains their philosophy, and illustrates their influence and legacy. You don't need any prior knowledge of Existentialism or philosophy. I would recommend this to any reader who is interested in what makes people tick.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
A lot of filler. A few good ideas and too many personal stories for me
What made the experience of listening to At the Existentialist Café the most enjoyable?
It geve a background to why the cafe drinkers came to believe in existentialism and associated ideas
Who was your favorite character and why?
Satre because of his opposition to Nazism
Which character – as performed by Antonia Beamish – was your favourite?
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Living under tyranny