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Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Existential MondayPhilosophical Essays
by Benjamin Fondane, edited, introduced, and translated from the French by Bruce Baugh
Benjamin Fondane—who was born and educated in Romania, moved as an adult to Paris, lived for a time in Buenos Aires, where he was close to Victoria Ocampo, Jorge Luis Borges’s friend and publisher, and died in Auschwitz—was an artist and thinker who found in every limit, in every border, “a torture and a spur.” Poet, critic, man of the theater, movie director, Fondane was the most daring of the existentialists, a metaphysical anarchist, affirming the individual against those great abstractions that limit human freedom—the State, History, the Law, the Idea.
Existential Monday, the first selection of his philosophical work to appear in English, includes four of Fondane's most thought-provoking and important texts, "Existential Monday and the Sunday of History," "Preface for the Present Moment," "Man Before History" (co-translated by Andrew Rubens), and "Boredom." Here Fondane, until now little-known except to specialists, emerges as one of the enduring French philosophers of the twentieth century.
by Benjamin Fondane, edited, introduced, and translated from the French by Bruce Baugh and Andrew Rubens
Fondane’s polemical approach confronts the reader with some explosive turns of thought which may lead us to reconsider everything we took for granted about life and art.
—Andrew Rubens, Glasgow Review of Books
Fondane . . . deserves to be celebrated outside France . . . as his far-ranging gifts and accomplishments are at the heart of 20th-century Jewish artistic and philosophical modernism.
—Benjamin Ivry, The Jewish Daily Forward
I was seized by the force of his images anchored in carnality, and I had the feeling of listening to a voice that was both unique and powerful, the voice of a man who, unworried by literary effect, shouted out his human condition.