Walter Kaufmann's 1956 anthology, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, was a landmark in the dissemination of existentialist thought in the English speaking world. Yet despite the popularity of the anthology, Kaufmann's ideas about existentialism have not received the study they deserve. This is true even though Kaufmann made it clear that he had an engaged point of view; that is, a particular story to tell about existentialism and its reception. If we examine the provocative manner that Kaufmann juxtaposed Kierkegaard – the figure he considered to be the first existentialist – with Dostoevsky, Nietzsche and Rilke, we will not only grasp his intentions, we will discover some valuable (and surprising) things about existentialism, its reputation in scholarly literature, and ourselves.


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pp. 17-31
Launched on MUSE
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