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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Russo-Parisian reading of Hegel, 22 July 2011
This review is from: Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the "Phenomenology of Spirit" (Agora Editions) (Paperback)
This was edited by Raymond Queneau for Alexandre Kojève based on Kojève's lectures on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit in Paris in the 1930s. The lectures were very influential in introducing the generation of Jean-Paul Sartre to Hegelian ideas. The book takes the standpoint of the French Revolution as a determining event for Hegel's thought and offers a detailed commentary of the Phenomenology (1806), starting with the story of Hegel seeing Napoleon when he passed through Jena.

Kojève's reading makes the dialectic of master and slave a key to the book, which becomes a narrative of social freedom more than of religious insight. Despite his own Russian orthodox background, Kojève gives an unambiguously atheistic reading of the Phenomenology that is now widely contested, though it still has its supporters. Kojève's French and Italian biographers Auffret and Filoni see him as a genteel Marxist who nonetheless took care to flee Stalinist Russia, later becoming an influential Eurocrat.

The book can still be used as a commentary and fills in many, but not all, gaps in understanding the text. There are many other commentaries, as the Phenomenology is a challenge to everyone, but this is one that has stood the test of time. The French edition is still in print. One point about the English translation is that the key in the analysis to page numbers in the Phenomenology refers to the older and more literary JB Baillie translation published under the title The Phenomenology of Mind, not to that of AV Millar. The analysis gives a helpful but slightly mechanistic division of the chapters and sections into 'introduction', 'dialectic', 'conclusions' and 'notes'.
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Location: Edinburgh

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