Currently Reading: The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh, Generosity: An Enchantment by Richard Powers, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) by the American Psychiatric Association, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, S/Z by Roland Barthes, Collected Stories by Vladimir Nabokov, Women and Madness by Phyllis Chesler, Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism by Linda M. Scott

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Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist by Walter Kaufmann

Review: Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (4th ed.) by Walter Kaufmann

Nietzsche is often repackaged as a radical thinker by an academic establishment a little in love with its own notions of radicalism. Yet ideas aren’t widely lauded as “radical” until they have already undergone a certain degree of diffusion, even dilution. In Nietzsche’s case, the paradox plays out like this: We are only too eager to make Nietzsche a name that connotes “opposition,” but as a result we fail to formulate any opposition to him. We celebrate Nietzsche for being anti-everything, but why is there no anti-Nietzsche? That is, perhaps obliquely, what Walter Kaufmann’s book, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist achieved to answer.

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Review: The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus

When the feeling of absurdity allows for the concept of the absurd to manifest, there is a tension or a disproportion between what we desire from the world and what the world itself can offer, or as Camus says, “a divorce between the mind that desires and the world that disappoints.” He writes that there is a fundamental conflict between what we want from the universe (whether it be meaning, order, or reasons) and what we find in the universe (chaos). It is a fundamental and irreducible element of the human existence, because we, at our very core, desire from the world meaning, an explanation for our existence, which the world cannot offer us.

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Coates, Robert - The Eater of Darkness

Review: The Eater of Darkness by Robert M. Coates

Here’s a singular argument, a begging-the-question: in an effort to make a coherent understanding out of a work that seems to be purposely opaque, can you conclude that your particular subject of criticism is ineffable, and the criticism of it, as a consequence, is rendered unnecessary? Is it a futile task to try to decipher a work that glares at you with its menacing whimsical conceits and pseudo-highbrowism, a work that laughs at your helplessness, as if declaring that you are too stupid, too crude and unenlightened to understand something that’s supposedly philosophically deep and profound? I don’t know about the rest of you readers, but when I read, I interpret, and interpretation is, to say the least, a bloody fucking arduous labor. Does The Eater of Darkness deserve that kind of labor?

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