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Publisher's Summary

One of the leading philosophical movements of the 20th century, existentialism has had more impact on literature and the arts than any other school of thought. Focusing on the leading figures of existentialism, including Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, de Beauvoir, Merleau-Ponty and Camus, Thomas Flynn offers a concise account of existentialism, explaining the key themes of individuality, free will, and personal responsibility, which marked the movement as a way of life, not just a way of thinking. Flynn sets the philosophy of existentialism in context, from the early phenomenologists, to its rise in the 40s and 50s, and the connections with National Socialism, Communism, and Feminism. He identifies the original definition of "existentialism", which tends to be obscured by misappropriation, and highlights how the philosophy is still relevant in our world today.
In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2006 Oxford University Press; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Bahar on 07-18-16

more of a summary and less of an introduction!

it is better to choose another book if you are new to existentialism. but once you have grasped the concepts, this book could serve as a quick reminder of who said what .

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3 out of 5 stars
By chris on 02-15-10


I don't like to write a review for a book unless its positive, but I was a little bitter over wasting a credit on this. I am very eager to learn more about the subject of existentialism, but this book is way WAY too academic and snooty sounding. I felt like the author was writing to hear how intelligent he sounds. If you don't mind that, then this may hold a lot of information for you. Me, I couldn't get past the style. It was hard to get through the introduction let alone the major text. Three tries. I gave up and will have to look elsewhere for text/audio on existentialism.

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6 of 17 people found this review helpful

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