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The Books That Samuel Beckett Read and Really Liked (1941-1956)

Samuel Beckett, Pic, 1" by Roger Pic. Via Wikimedia Commons Clad in a black turtleneck and with a shock of white hair, Samuel Beckett was a gaunt, gloomy high priest of modernism. After the 1955 premiere of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot (watch him stage a performance here), Kenneth Tynan quipped, ''It has no plot, no climax, no denouement; no beginning, no middle and no end.'' From there, Beckett’s work only got more austere, bleak and despairing. His 1969 play Breath, for instance,...
Tags: Google, Books, Yahoo, College, Los Angeles, Literature, Around The World, Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Agatha Christie, Christie, Facebook Twitter, Beckett, Hollywood Reporter, Theodor Fontane, Suzanne

How the Inventor of Dynamite, Alfred Nobel, Read an Obituary That Called Him “The Merchant of Death” and Made Amends by Creating the Nobel Prize

No one can ever fully predict the consequences of their actions. Still, some warning bells should be hard to ignore. Take Alfred Nobel, for instance, the founder of the Nobel Prize. For most of his life, he had a different reputation—as the inventor of dynamite, one of the most destructive technologies of the age. Though he maintained his motives were pure, Nobel had no shortage of signs telling him his creation might do at least as much harm as good. He persevered and lived to regret it...
Tags: Google, Europe, Sweden, College, France, Life, History, Italy, Toni Morrison, Albert Camus, Nobel, Grant, Alfred, Preet Bharara, Wharton School, Facebook Twitter

See Albert Camus’ Historic Lecture, “The Human Crisis,” Performed by Actor Viggo Mortensen

Back in 2016, New York City staged a month-long festival celebrating Albert Camus' historic visit to NYC in 1946. One event in the festival featured actor Viggo Mortensen giving a reading of Camus' lecture,“La Crise de l’homme” ("The Human Crisis") at Columbia University--the very same place where Camus delivered the lecture 70 years earlier--down to the very day (March 28, 1946). The reading was initially captured on a cell phone, and broadcast live using Facebook live video. But then c...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Twitter, College, New York City, Literature, Philosophy, Columbia University, Viggo Mortensen, Albert Camus, Columbia, Facebook Twitter, Mortensen, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Maison Française Note

The Simpsons Take on Ayn Rand: See the Show’s Satire of The Fountainhead and Objectivist Philosophy

Say what you will about the tenets of Objectivism—to take a fan favorite line from a little film about bowling and white Russians. At least it’s an ethos. As for Ayn Rand’s attempts to realize her "absurd philosophy" in fiction, we can say that she was rather less successful, in aesthetic terms, than literary philosophers like Albert Camus or Simone de Beauvoir. But that’s a high bar. When it comes to sales figures at least, her novels are, we might say, competitive. Atlas Shrugged is so...
Tags: Google, Politics, Comedy, Television, College, Roald Dahl, Economics, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Maggie, Rand, Christopher Hitchens, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Trunchbull, Flannery O'Connor

The Causes & Prevalence of Suicide Explained by Two Videos from Alain de Botton’s School of Life

“Suicide,” writes Albert Camus in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” has never been dealt with except as a social phenomenon.” And yet, as Alain de Botton argues in his School of Life video above, at least when it comes to media and government priorities, contemporary societies prefer to hardly deal with the problem at all, even though it claims the lives of some 800,000 people every year. “It remains entirely strange,” says De Botton, “that through the media we should hear so much about killers an...
Tags: Google, South Korea, College, Life, China, United States, Stephen Fry, Philosophy, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Albert Camus, Kuwait, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, de Botton, Schopenhauer

Philip Roth (RIP) Creates a List of the 15 Books That Influenced Him Most

Image by Thierry Ehrmann, via Flickr Commons We stand at a pivotal time in history, and not only when it comes to presidential politics and other tragedies. The boomer artists and writers who loomed over the last several decades—whose influence, teaching, or patronage determined the careers of hundreds of successors—are passing away. It seems that not a week goes by that we don’t mourn the loss of one or another towering figure in the arts and letters. And along with the eulogies and tributes c...
Tags: Google, Books, College, Wikipedia, New York Times, Literature, Philip Roth, Gustave Flaubert, Paul Auster, Albert Camus, Leo Tolstoy, Colette, Trump, Ernest Hemingway, Facebook Twitter, Roth

Dress Like an Intellectual Icon with Japanese Coats Inspired by the Wardrobes of Camus, Sartre, Duchamp, Le Corbusier & Others

If you follow men's style in the 21st century, you know that the same names tend to come up as references again and again, from actors like Cary Grant and Steve McQueen to businessmen like Gianni Agnelli and royalty like Prince Charles. But what if we looked to other, less conventional realms of culture for inspiration on what to wear and, more importantly, how to wear it? Over the past few years, Japanese label Cohérence has done just that, designing coats modeled after those worn by the likes...
Tags: Google, Europe, Japan, Design, College, France, Cary Grant, Los Angeles, West, Glenn Greenwald, Prince Charles, Steve McQueen, Albert Camus, Seoul, Antoine, Jean Cocteau

Patti Smith’s 40 Favorite Books

Image of Patti Smith performing in Rio de Janeiro by Daigo Oliva As a little girl, Patti Smith found liberation in words -- first through the bedtime prayers she made up herself, and later in books. "I was completely smitten by the book," she writes in her memoir, Just Kids.  "I longed to read them all, and the things I read of produced new yearnings." Smith found a role model in Jo, the tomboy writer in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. "She gave me the courage of a new goal," writes Smith, "...
Tags: Google, Books, Music, New York, College, David Bowie, Rio De Janeiro, William Shakespeare, Melbourne, Federico García Lorca, Charlotte Brontë, Patti Smith, William Blake, Jack Kerouac, Albert Camus, Smith

What Are the Keys to Happiness?: Take “The Science of Well-Being,” a Free Online Version of Yale’s Most Popular Course

Don't listen to people who tell you they've found the one true path to happiness — but do listen to people who seem seriously in search of it. One such person, Yale psychology and cognitive science professor Laurie Santos, teaches a whole course on the subject: Psych 157, also known as "Psychology and the Good Life." And even though college students are living the best time of their lives — or so the culture keeps insisting to them — enough of them desire its insights to make it the most...
Tags: Psychology, Google, College, Yale, Online Courses, Albert Einstein, Albert Camus, Seoul, Santos, Alain De Botton, Don, Facebook Twitter, Colin Marshall, Laurie Santos, 21st Century Los Angeles, New York Times David Shimer Students

Taken a Free Online Version of Yale’s Most Popular Course (“The Science of Well-Being”) and Learn the Keys to Happiness

Don't listen to people who tell you they've found the one true path to happiness — but do listen to people who seem seriously in search of it. One such person, Yale psychology and cognitive science professor Laurie Santos, teaches a whole course on the subject: Psych 157, also known as "Psychology and the Good Life." And even though college students are living the best time of their lives — or so the culture keeps insisting to them — enough of them desire its insights to make it the most...
Tags: Psychology, Google, College, Yale, Online Courses, Albert Einstein, Albert Camus, Seoul, Santos, Alain De Botton, Don, Facebook Twitter, Colin Marshall, Laurie Santos, 21st Century Los Angeles, New York Times David Shimer Students

An Animated Introduction to Epicurus and His Answer to the Ancient Question: What Makes Us Happy?

These days the word Epicurean tends to get thrown around in regard to things like olive oil, cutting boards, and wine aerators. The real Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher of the third and fourth century BCE, might not have approved, knowing as he did that happiness doesn't come from products that signal one's appreciation of high-end comestibles. But where, then, does happiness come from? Epicurus devoted his school of philosophy to finding an answer to that ancient question, and th...
Tags: Google, College, Life, Philosophy, Johnson, Albert Camus, Seoul, Alain De Botton, University Of California San Diego, Facebook Twitter, Williams Sonoma, BCE, de Botton, Colin Marshall, Nietzsche Socrates, 21st Century Los Angeles

The Philosophy of Rick and Morty: What Everyone’s New Favorite Cartoon Has in Common with Albert Camus

"Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody's gonna die." So, in one episode of Rick and Morty, says the fourteen-year-old Morty Smith, one of the show's titular co-protagonists. With the other, a mad scientist by the name of Rick Sanchez, who also happens to be Morty's grandfather, he constitutes the animated team that has entertained thousands and thousands of viewers — and made insatiable fans of seemingly all of them — over the past four years. To those few who have...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Television, College, Bill Murray, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Seoul, David Foster Wallace, Facebook Twitter, Plato, Morty, Rick, Dan Harmon, Colin Marshall, Comics/Cartoons

A Short, Animated Introduction to Emil Cioran, the “Philosopher of Despair”

It is admittedly a gross oversimplification, but if asked to summarize a critical difference between analytical Anglo-American philosophers and so-called “Continentals," one might broadly say that the former approach philosophy as thinking, the latter as writing. Contrast, for example, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Bertrand Russell—none of whom are especially known as prose stylists—with Michel de Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, or Albert Camus. While the Englishmen struck out into h...
Tags: Google, College, New York Times, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Continental, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Greek Orthodox, Bertrand Russell, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Arthur Schopenhauer, Cioran, LA ROCHEFOUCAULD

Holocaust Survivor Viktor Frankl Explains Why If We Have True Meaning in Our Lives, We Can Make It Through the Darkest of Times

In one school of popular reasoning, people judge historical outcomes that they think are favorable as worthy tradeoffs for historical atrocities. The argument appears in some of the most inappropriate contexts, such as discussions of slavery or the Holocaust. Or in individual thought experiments, such as that of a famous inventor whose birth was the result of a brutal assault. There are a great many people who consider this thinking repulsive, morally corrosive, and astoundingly presumpt...
Tags: Psychology, Google, College, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Auschwitz, Facebook Twitter, Jean Paul Sartre, Frankl, Viktor Frankl, Durham NC Follow, Darkest of Times, Logotherapy Frankl, Viggo Mortensen Josh Jones

Albert Camus Explains Why Happiness Is Like Committing a Crime—”You Should Never Admit to it” (1959)

Note: You can read a translation below. Happiness, as it has been conceived for at least the past couple thousand years in Western philosophy, is a problem. For the Greeks, happiness was only one component of Eudaimonia, a general human flourishing that must be developed along with ethics, personal growth, and social and civic duty in order for a life to have purpose and meaning. “Positive psychology speaker” Dr. Nico Rose reminds us that the concept contrasts with Hedonia (as in “hedonism”), wh...
Tags: Google, College, Life, New Zealand, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Kashmir, Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, Martin Seligman, Rose, Facebook Twitter, Dostoyevsky, Josh Jones, Eudaimonia, Jonathan Haidt

Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Albert Camus’ Touching Thank You Letter to His Elementary School Teacher

It’s never too late to thank the teacher who changed your life. Oprah Winfrey fell to pieces when she was reunited on air with Mrs. Duncan, her fourth grade teacher, her “first liberator” and “validator.” Patrick Stewart used his knighthood ceremony as an occasion to thank Cecil Dormand, the English teacher who told him that Shakespeare’s works were not dramatic poems, but plays to be performed on one’s feet. And Bill Gates had kind words for Blanche Caffiere, the former librarian at...
Tags: Google, Benedict Cumberbatch, College, Life, New York City, K-12, Bill Gates, Literature, Letters, Oprah Winfrey, Shakespeare, Patrick Stewart, Seattle, Albert Camus, English Language, Facebook Twitter

Animated Video Tells the Story of Jean-Paul Sartre & Albert Camus’ Famous Falling Out (1952)

Yesterday we wrote about Albert Camus’ role as the editor of Combat, a newspaper that emerged from a French Resistance cell and played a central role in the ideological conflicts of post-war France. Camus wrote essay after essay about the problems of violent extremism and the complications inherent in forming a new democratic civil order. Although he briefly fought alongside Communists in the resistance, and stood in solidarity with their cause, Camus would split with his Marxist allies ...
Tags: Google, College, France, Life, Fbi, Philosophy, Nazi, Jfk, Albert Camus, Facebook Twitter, Sartre, Josh Jones, Der Spiegel, Jean Paul Sartre, Camus, Durham NC Follow

Albert Camus, Editor of the French Resistance Newspaper Combat, Writes Movingly About Life, Politics & War (1944-47)

Image by United Press International, via Wikimedia Commons When totalitarian regimes around the world are in power, writing that tells the truth—whether literary, journalistic, scientific, or legal—effectively serves as counter-propaganda. To write honestly is to expose: to uncover what is hidden, stand apart from it, and observe. These actions are anathema to dictatorships. But they are integral to resistance movements, which must develop their own press in order to disseminate ideas other th...
Tags: Google, Politics, College, France, History, Foreign Affairs, Paris, Literature, Philosophy, Nazi, Albert Camus, Princeton University Press, Pacific, Hiroshima, Facebook Twitter, Hoffman

20 Lessons from the 20th Century About How to Defend Democracy from Authoritarianism, According to Yale Historian Timothy Snyder

Image by Rob Kall, via Flickr Commons Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History at Yale University, is one of the foremost scholars in the U.S. and Europe on the rise and fall of totalitarianism during the 1930s and 40s. Among his long list of appointments and publications, he has won multiple awards for his recent international bestsellers Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin and last year’s Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. That book in part makes the argument tha...
Tags: Google, Facebook, Europe, Putin, College, Russia, America, Ukraine, History, Power, George Orwell, Hitler, Albert Camus, Peter Pomerantsev, Václav Havel, Stalin

Simone de Beauvoir Defends Existentialism & Her Feminist Masterpiece, The Second Sex, in Rare 1959 TV Interview

Given how many academic philosophy departments have banished Existentialism into some primitive wilderness, it seems striking to hear people talk about it as a current phenomenon with a serious, living pedigree and a hip youth vanguard distilling its ideas into pop culture. By the time I’d heard of Albert Camus—by way of The Cure’s early single “Killing an Arab”—the references to the French philosopher and his novel The Stranger were already exotic, and as kitschy as the faux-Middle East...
Tags: Google, UK, College, Philosophy, Albert Camus, New York Public Library, Coltrane, Facebook Twitter, Sartre, Norman Mailer, Josh Jones, Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, Durham NC Follow, Beauvoir

Hear Albert Camus Read the Famous Opening Passage of The Stranger (1947)

It is closing-time in the gardens of the West and from now on an artist will be judged only by the resonance of his solitude or the quality of his despair –Cyril Connolly My mind has been drawn to lately Albert Camus’ The Stranger, in which an alienated French-Algerian man, simply called Meursault, shoots a nameless “Arab,” for no particular reason that he can divine. He thinks, perhaps, it may have been the sun in his eyes. Meursault is not a police officer, he has not been called to a scene. ...
Tags: Google, College, France, Mother, Literature, Algeria, Albert Camus, Arab, North Africa, Facebook Twitter, Connolly, Meursault, Harun, Algiers, Josh Jones, Bloom

What Is an “Existential Crisis”?: An Animated Video Explains What the Expression Really Means

“Who am I?” many of us have wondered at some point in our lives, “What am I? Where am I?”… maybe even—while gazing in bewilderment at the pale blue dot and listening to the Talking Heads—“How did I get here?” That feeling of unsettling and profound confusion, when it seems like the hard floor of certainty has turned into a black abyss of endless oblivion…. Thanks to modern philosophy, it has a handy name: an existential crisis. It’s a name, says Alain de Botton in his School of Life vide...
Tags: Google, College, Time, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Sartre, Durham NC, Josh Jones, Nietzsche, Richard Raskin

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Life & Literature Introduced in a Monty Python-Style Animation

“You know how earlier we were talking about Dostoyevsky?” asks David Brent, Ricky Gervais’ iconically insecure paper-company middle-manager central to the BBC’s original The Office. “Oh, yeah?” replies Ricky, the junior employee who had earlier that day demonstrated a knowledge of the influential Russian novelist apparently intimidating to his boss. “Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. Born 1821. Died 1881,” recites Brent. “Just interested in him being exiled in Siberia for four years.” Ric...
Tags: Google, College, Office, Los Angeles, Bbc, Literature, Siberia, Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Seoul, James Joyce, St Petersburg, Virginia Woolf, David Brent, Facebook Twitter, Ricky

Monty Python’s Philosopher’s Football Match: The Epic Showdown Between the Greeks & Germans (1972)

Last year, we witnessed a very tense, unpleasant showdown between Germany and Greece as the topmost nation in the European Union drove its most indebted country to make painful, perhaps punishing compromises. In one analysis of this hard-to-watch economic humiliation—for Greece, that is—The Washington Post made use of a much more lighthearted contest between the two countries, one in which Greece emerged the victor after scoring the only goal of the match. The soccer match, that is, ...
Tags: Google, Python, Comedy, Greece, Washington Post, College, Germany, John Cleese, European Union, Munich, Monty Python, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Jones, Franz Beckenbauer, Nigel Warburton

Edward Snowden & Jean-Michel Jarre Record a Techno Protest Song, “Exit”

For his new album, Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise, Jean-Michel Jarre, a pioneer in electronic and ambient music, collaborated on a recording with Edward Snowden, the former CIA computer analyst-turned-whistleblower. Cue up their song, “Exit,” above. At first glance, it perhaps seems like an unlikely pairing. But if you give Jarre, the son of a French resistance fighter, a chance to explain, it all makes perfect sense. Recently, he told The Guardian: The whole Electronica proje...
Tags: Google, Music, Technology, Snowden, College, Current Affairs, Edward Snowden, Cctv, Cia, Albert Camus, Facebook Twitter, Gary Numan, Jarre, Jean Michel Jarre

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