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Existentialism: Existential America

the Realm of Existentialism | 54 Existential Essentials | What is Existentialism? | Basic Themes of Existentialism | Existential-Speak | an Existential Reading List | Existentialism and the Human Situation | Existentialism and the American Consciousness | Existentialism and Moral Individualism | Subjectivity and Existentialism | Existentialism, Choice and Commitment | Irrational Man : A Study in Existential Philosophy | Existentialism's Dread and Anxiety | Existentialism : Man and Human Relationships | Existentialism and the Significance of Being | World, Limits, Existence -- Existentialism | Problems of Existentialist Theology | Modern Existentialist and Phenomenological Studies | What is Phenomenology?

Existential America

About the Author
George Cotkin is a professor of history at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is the author of Reluctant Modernism: American Thought and Culture, 1880–1900 and William James, Public Philosopher, the latter published by Johns Hopkins.

Book Description
Europe's leading existential thinkers--Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus--all felt that Americans were too self-confident and shallow to accept their philosophy of responsibility, choice, and the absurd. "There is no pessimism in America regarding human nature and social organization," Sartre remarked in 1950, while Beauvoir wrote that Americans had no "feeling for sin and for remorse" and Camus derided American materialism and optimism. Existentialism, however, enjoyed rapid, widespread, and enduring popularity among Americans. No less than their European counterparts, American intellectuals participated in the conversation of existentialism. In Existential America, historian George Cotkin argues that the existential approach to life, marked by vexing despair and dauntless commitment in the face of uncertainty, has deep American roots and helps to define the United States in the twentieth-century in ways that have never been fully realized or appreciated.

As Cotkin shows, not only did Americans readily take to existentialism, but they were already heirs to a rich tradition of thinkers--from Jonathan Edwards and Herman Melville to Emily Dickinson and William James--who had wrestled with the problems of existence and the contingency of the world long before Sartre and his colleagues. After introducing this concept of an American existential tradition, Cotkin examines how formal existentialism first arrived in America in the 1930s through discussion of Kierkegaard and the early vogue among New York intellectuals for the works of Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus. Cotkin then traces the evolution of existentialism in America: its adoption by Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison to help articulate the African-American experience; its expression in the works of Norman Mailer and photographer Robert Frank; its incorporation into the tenets of the feminist and radical student movements of the 1960s; and its lingering presence in contemporary American thought and popular culture, particularly in such films as Crimes and Misdemeanors, Fight Club and American Beauty.

The only full-length study of existentialism America, this highly engaging and original work provides an invaluable guide to the history of American culture since the end of the Second World War.


Great Book, Important Subject
Cotkin has done a wonderful job of taking a very complex subject (one which seems to attract bad writers as well) and turning it into a good story. Best of all: He writes in jargon-free English. Perfect for a Senior seminar in American intellectual history.--Reviewer: Stephen Tootle from Visalia, CA USA

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...Existential Extras...

Minds: The Minds of Existentialism: The Realm of Existentialism houses an eclectic aggregation of Philosophers, Poets, Psychologists, Playwrights and Theologians -- all major league players -- indepth biographies, books and reviews, quotations, and a state-of-the-art bookstore for a more in-depth exploration, One-on-One. to name a few: Karl Barth, Simone de Beauvoir, Samuel Beckett, William Blake, Martin Buber, Albert Camus, E. M. Cioran, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Martin Heidegger, William James, Karl Jaspers, Franz Kafka, Soren Kierkegaard, Abraham H. Maslow, Friedrich Nietzsche, Blaise Pascal, Jean Paul Sartre, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Henry David Thoreau, Paul Tillich, Theatre of the Absurd

Existential Basics: Basic Themes of Existentialism: The Bare Essentials for the Mind-on-Fire, a quick overview of some of the basic, ever-winding, rivers that run through Existentialism and the human experience; love, anxiety, stress, solitude, relationships, failure, sadness, death, loneliness, human frailty etc. A very meaty section in the Realm of Existentialism, and frequently up-dated! Topics such as: What is Existentialism? | Basic Themes of Existentialism | Existential-Speak | Existential Themed Books and Reviews | Existentialism and the Human Situation | Existentialism and the American Consciousness | Existentialism and Moral Individualism | Subjectivity and Existentialism | Existentialism, Choice and Commitment | Irrational Man : A Study in Existential Philosophy | Existentialism's Dread and Anxiety | Existentialism : Man and Human Relationships | Existentialism and the Significance of Being | World, Limits, Existence -- Existentialism | Problems of Existentialist Theology | Modern Existentialist and Phenomenological Studies | What is Phenomenology?

Existential-Speak: Existential-Speak: Words and phrases usually associated with the Philosophy of Existentialism. Alienation | Ambiguity | Angst or Anxiety | Awareness as Agony | Bad Faith | Being | Boredom | Christian Existentialism | Death | Demythologized | Ethics and Morality | Existence Precedes Essence | Existential | Existentialism | Faceless | Fight Club | for None and All | Futility | God is Dead! | Hell is Other People! | Individualism | Nausea | Nothingness -- Nonbeing | Phenomenology Theatre of the Absurd

Quotes: Quotes: Keeping the ball in the court of Existentialism and Existential thought, thousands of the most thought-provoking Quotations imaginable! Tastefully arranged and streamed from MindPleasures.com

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Big News! It's PartyTime, and you're invited!
The Realm of Existentialism now has a Philosophy/Common Interest Group on FaceBook!
Come on over and Join our little soirée!

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