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Essays and Aphorisms (Classics) by [Schopenhauer, Arthur]
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Essays and Aphorisms (Classics) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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About the Author

Arthur Schopenhauer was born in Danzig in 1788 where his family, of Dutch origin, owned a respected trading house. Arthur was expected to inherit the business, but hated the work and in 1807, after his father's suicide and the sale of the business, he enrolled in the grammar school at Gotha. He went on to study medicine and science at Gottingen University and in 1810 began to study philosophy. In 1811 he transferred to Berlin to write his doctoral thesis, and began to write The World as Will and Idea, a complete exploration of his philosophy, which was finished in 1818. Although the book failed to sell, his belief in his own views sustained him through twenty-five years of frustrated desire for fame. During his middle life he travelled widely in Europe and in 1844 brought out a much expanded edition of his book, which after his death became one of the most widely read of all philosophical works. His fame was established in 1851 with the publication of Parerga and Paralipomena, a collection of dialogues, essays and aphorisms. He died in 1860.


R.J. Hollingdale has translated works by, among others, Schopenhauer, Goethe, T.A. Hoffmann, Lichtenburg and Theodor Fontane, as well as eleven of Nietzsche's books, many for the Penguin Classics. He has published two books on Nietzsche and was Honorary President of the British Nietzsche Society until his death in 2003.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 315 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Aug. 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9K9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,520 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Schopenhauer is rightly accorded one of the finest writers ever to publish serious philosophy. And here, in his Essay's & Aphorisms, you can taste just a little of his prose.
As far as his philosophy (the most pessimistic you'll ever find) goes this is a far easier though much less expansive volume than his great World as Will & Representation. This volume is, in effect, an appetizer. However, he does offer us a few interesting essays which can provide the springboard into his mammoth two volume masterpeice.
Particularly of interest is Schopenhauer's essay on aesthetics, and his work on suffering.
However, women may find his essay On Women a little hard to stomach: he makes Neitzche look like Shere Hite.
There is also a fine introduction by Hollingdale, one of the best scholars of German philosophy about. So: read this, then read the major work.
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Any philosopher can write so that the average reader can't understand what they are saying. Even Nietzsche managed it, In fact many did so intentionally, addressing themselves to other philosophers and academics. Schopenhauer, on the other hand, is a brilliantly lucid writer and natural born communicator. He reads as pacey and gripping as a good novel, but without talking down to his readers. JG Ballard said human beings can't handle reality for too long at a stretch.Schopenhauer was on message 200 years before him. When you consider when he wrote, even in translation his work is modern and never flinches from delivering some hard truths we may prefer to shy away from. Philosophical writing developed in Germany as a direct result of the genius of Goethe, whose work covered every other sphere of writing. German writers had to explore philosophy as a outlet for their writing. If they wrote novels or poetry, they could only be rated as second rate Goethes. England and France produced great novelists. Germany produced philosophers. That's the key to how good Schopenhauer is...he's a great writer who chose philosophy as his theme, i.e. writer first. OK, feminists don't like him, but then they wouldn't, would they? They don't like anything but themselves, especially reality.
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If your serious about finding out what life is all about, or if your just looking to expand your cleverness by kicking idiocy off her rusty stool, then read The World as Will and Representation. It may not be as potent, today, as it was back in its day; even so, the Will can still give you an ontology peeling experience and send a shiver through the hollow glass orb you call your will; by putting you back in the cockpit of your life vehicle.

You don't need drugs to expand your seeing you see; you can awaken by reading the right philosophy. Back in the 1940's, scientists discovered consciousness expanding chemicals; a spiritual antidote to the atom bomb if you like. These chemicals allowed the testosterone driven monkey mind a glimpse through the veil of Maya. Taking LSD was like watching a high definition, 3D, film for the first time. Your sensory ratios were enhanced for the better, but inevitably, the real world would forever appear dull and dreary. It was thought that by expanding your awareness you stopped being a selfish arshole. It didn't work by the way.

Reading great philosophy can also do this. The genius of reading what genius' have said is that your mind expands like a balloon, and, if you don't pop, you see further; you realise that the rat race is an insult to your time and those mortgage payments they told you will make you happy, are not the meaning of life after all, and so you stop being an envious arshole because you see something more outside the dreary Kantian cave.

Carl Sagan said there are millions of books; the point is, read the right ones. Reading can change your neuronal ratios, making you smarter, but, inevitably, your world will probably look duller.

Philosophers today don't talk like this.
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Schopenhauer's thoughts are preceded by the translator's introduction. This contains interesting background material. But beware: the introduction is a rather dismissive attempt to rationalise or "explain" the roots of Schopenhauer's world view. Do not be distracted by this - Hollingdale may well be a fine translator but he is not the philosophical genius that Schopenhauer was.
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Amazing. Probably my favourite philosopher. I especially respect the essays on writing (being an artist/creative genius), 'The Will to live' and suicide. As a woman I even think the essay on women was probably relevant for its time.
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Format: Paperback
I don't know why it took me this long to get around to reading Schopenhauer, who I have been meaning to read ever since I discovered Nietzsche, lo these many years. I wanted to read his main work first, The Will as Idea and Representation, but was unable to find it at a reasonable price. I was very happy with this book, however, which is taken almost entirely from his Parerga and Paralipomena, and was translated by R.J. Hollingdale, who was the foremost British translator of Nietzsche, among others. Schopenhauer was a great thinker, and this book is filled with clear and concise insights into a variety of topics. He wrote in a way that is easily understandable and not boring, which cannot be said of most philosophers either before or after him. There are quite a few phrases in various languages, and not all of them are translated, but many of the ones that aren't can be inferred rather easily either from their context or root word. This is the kind of book that will be enjoyed by anyone who likes to think and who enjoys contact with great minds. Just a note on his pessimism: It makes a lot more sense than most of the alternative philosophies I've read or considered, and is not depressing or enervating.
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