Nobel Prize winner Henri-Louis Bergson

On October 18, 1859 Nobel Prize winner Henri-Louis Bergson was born. Today, Philosophical Library is looking back on the accomplishments of this noted French philosopher and influential thinker. He was born in Paris, France though moved to London with his family soon after. Even though he would return to France years later, his time spent in London gave him a foundation in the English language. Henri-Louis received his education from the Lycee Condorcet in Paris and had studied the Jewish religion as well. Though in his mid-teens, he lost his faith after his acquaintance with the theory of evolution. His first published piece came at the age of eighteen upon completion of a mathematical problem and he was the winner of a prize for his scientific contributions while attending the Lycee. At nineteen years old, he matriculated into the Ecole Normale Superieure where he focused his studies on the humanities and eventually received his licence es lettres. He would go on to give lectures and earn his doctoral degree from the University of Paris.

“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.” – Henri-Louis Bergson

Henri-Louis Bergson taught for many years and even led courses on the theories of Charles Darwin, having sided with his views of gradual variations. By the year 1900, he was promoted to professor at the College de France and was offered the Chair of Greek and Latin Philosophy. In the years that followed, he would write and publish many essays and create some of his greatest works. In 1908, Henri-Louis journeyed to London where he met and befriended philosopher William James, who would praise Bergson’s theories in many lectures and in publications as well. In 1927, Henri-Louis Bergson won the Nobel Prize for Literature after publishing The Creative Evolution.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri-Louis Bergson

Henri-Louis Bergson believed in having intuition and free will and he sought to redefine how we view time and space. The works of Henri-Louis Bergson are still held in high regard to this day. Some titles available to fans and researchers of this influential philosopher include The Philosophy of Poetry, a work translated by Wade Baskin from the original Ecrits et Paroles, and The World of Dreams. In his book The World of Dreams, Henri-Louis incorporates contemporary thinking in his exploration of dreams and how they work and function. He speaks about the sensory organs and their involvement in what we perceive to be happening when in a dream state. He includes discussions on free will, perception, change, memory, consciousness, language and reason. To purchase either of these titles, please click here.

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Henri-Louis Bergson


Henri-Louis Bergson. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from


German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche turns 172

Today marks the 172nd birthday of famed German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Philosophical Library welcomes you to join us in celebrating by looking back on the life of this author, poet, philosopher and scholar. Born on October 15, 1844, Friedrich’s formative years were heavily marked with familial tragedy. At the tender age of five, Friedrich endured the death of his father at the hands of a brain ailment and had the misfortune of losing his two-year old brother only six months later. With the loss of his loved ones, his family moved to Naumburg, Germany to live with his grandmother and aunts. Only after the death of his grandmother did his family settle into a home of their own.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When it came to his education, Friedrich attended an all boy’s school and, afterward, a private school. At the age of ten, he received a scholarship to attend a prestigious monastery. While his grades were not nearly up to the standard needed to matriculate, having a father who once worked for the state granted him this opportunity. During his years of study, Friedrich gained a linguistic foundation in the areas of Latin, French, Hebrew and Greek. He wrote poetry and musical pieces, leading him to conduct a music and literature club. His interests steered him toward subjects and authors deemed unsuitable for the masses and was encouraged to ground himself with more socially accepted works. By 1864, he focused his attention on becoming a minister and began studying theology and philology at the University of Bonn; however, he would later lose his faith, arguing that the basic teachings of Christianity can be debunked by historical research.

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche went on to study philology at the University of Leipzig and was greatly influenced by the works of Schopenhauer, Friedrich Albert Lange’s take on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The break from tradition and resistance of authority heavily peaked his interest and thus motivated him to broaden his studies to include philosophy. At the age of twenty-four, he was offered the position of Professor of Classical Philology at Switzerland’s University of Basel. Along with a strong academic career and many publications, Friedrich had a background in the military and served for a year as a medic in the Franco-Prussian War, an experience that revealed to him the horrors of battle. He continued to publish many works for the remainder of his life.

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is well known for his controversial beliefs that challenge Christianity, religion and morality. Having been greatly interested in the more progressive thinkers, Friedrich developed his theories based on these influences. Though he spent years committing his thoughts on paper for the public, he penned many private thoughts as well. In a compilation titled Friedrich Nietzsche Unpublished Letters, the reader is allowed a viewing into the daily life of the author. With several correspondences written to his inner circle, including his sister, we gain a deeper look into the man behind the pen. A valuable addition to the collection of anyone wishing to access the author on a more personal level, Friedrich Nietzsche Unpublished Letters makes for an interesting read. To purchase this title, please click here.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche


Friedrich Nietzsche. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 13, 2016, 2016, from


Happy 131st birthday to French writer Francois Mauriac

Philosophical Library would like to wish a happy 131st birthday to French writer Francois Mauriac. Born on October 11, 1885, our birthday honoree was born and raised in Bordeaux, France. He received his education from the University of Bordeaux where he studied literature and graduated in 1905. He continued his academic career in Paris at the Ecole des Chartes.

“No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” – Francois Mauriac

With his own philosophical views in hand, Francois was outspoken when it came to the political happenings of his time. When the editor of a resistance paper, Albert Camus, argued that France, freshly released from the Nazi’s power of WWII, should remove all of The Party’s collaborators from the country, Francois responded by warning that such doings would cause even more of a drift and that restoration of peace would be halted. Continuing to call for peaceful measures, Francois denounced France’s involvement in Vietnam as well as the use of torture by the military. More public disputes occurred when another writer condemned the Vatican in books he’d written that were then advertised in the paper for which Francois wrote. Francois threatened to leave his position if such advertisements continued to appear in the paper.

“Human love is often but the encounter of two weaknesses.” – Francois Mauriac

Francois Mauriac won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1952 as well as the Grand Cross of the Legion d’honneur six years later in 1958. His literature is still read and enjoyed today. Such works include his book Saint Margaret of Cortona. Saint Margaret of Cortona was a source of spiritual influence for the author during a time when Germany had invaded his homeland. His interest stemmed from the mystery surrounding her as well as her surrender to human love. It is said that he followed her wherever she led him and he submitted his inspiration to the pages within this book. Other titles include Proust’s Way and Letters on Art and Literature. In the latter title, the author shares his thoughts on a variety of topics in an anthology of letters. One of these letters was written to the very man with whom Francois had strongly disputed, Albert Camus. To read more about or purchase these titles, please click here.

“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.” – Francois Mauriac

Portrait of German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), 1958. (Photo by Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images) Portrait of German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889 - 1976), 1958. (Photo by Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

German philosopher Martin Heidegger is 127 today!

Today marks the 127th birthday of one who is considered to be among the most original and influential philosophers of the 20th century. Today, we take a look back on the life of German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Born in a rural town in Germany on September 26, 1889, Martin was raised in a poor, Roman Catholic household. Due to his family’s inability to pay for his education, he was sent to a Jesuit seminary where he studied for only a few weeks before being sent away due to a heart condition.

“The possible ranks higher than the actual.” – Martin Heidegger

With the support of the church, Martin later studied theology at the University of Freiburg with the agreement that he would endorse their teachings. Despite their support, he parted ways with Catholicism and began studying philosophy and finished his doctoral thesis in 1914. For the next two years, Martin taught at the university without salary. He served in WWI as a solider in the final year of the war.

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.” – Martin Heidegger

By 1923, Martin was serving as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Marburg. Following on the heels of Aristotle, the theme of his lectures questioned the sense of being. Four years later, he published Being and Time and later accepted a position as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Freiburg where he taught for the remainder of his life, despite multiple offers from other academic institutions and his involvement with the Nazi Party, of which he was a member until 1945. This began in 1933 when Martin became part of the Socialist German Worker’s Party and revealed his support for a German revolution and for Adolf Hitler. His enthusiasm about his participation in the Party is noted by historians as well as the fact that his resignation was fueled more from his inability to take the role of philosopher of the Party rather than his morals. He was able to continue lecturing at the university until his death in 1973.

“Thinking begins only when we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the stiff-necked adversary of thought.” – Martin Heidegger

Martin Heidegger is well known for his contributions to existentialism, though his philosophy comes with much controversy. A proud supporter of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler, his examination of the Nazi’s rise to power, their history as well as philosophy is assembled in his book German Existentialism. Considered to be one of the most controversial texts available, Martin Heidegger expresses his views on the National Socialist Party and their journey to domination. Also by Martin Heidegger and less of a controversial read is a collection of his essays titled Essays in Metaphysics. Here, the reader is able to glean more than just a glimpse inside the philosopher as a deeper study into the author is available for the taking. In this book, his views on religion, history, language and technology are shared. While it is said that Martin Heidegger’s more sensitive side is revealed within these pages, it is up to each reader to analyze this assessment. For more information on these titles, please click here.

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man” – Martin Heidegger



Martin Heidegger. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from


Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi is 123 Today!

Next time you’re enjoying some juicy citrus fruit or an assortment of leafy greens, think of Albert Szent-Györgyi. He uncovered the vitamin in these healthy foods that is known to aid your body’s ability to counteract free radicals and their harmful effects. We can thank Albert Szent-Györgyi for discovering vitamin C and its components. While that finding alone deserves a great deal of credit, Philosophical Library would like to share the many other accomplishments of psychologist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi in honor of his 123rd birthday.

“A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi was born on September 16, 1893 in Hungary with a family history that traced back to origins of nobility. Three generations of scientists preceded his birth, with his mother’s side of the family being heavily involved in music as well. In fact, his mother Jozefina auditioned as an opera singer for Gustav Mahler, mentor to Arnold Schoenberg. However, she was told that her singing voice was not up to par and that she should find herself a husband instead. Still, musical ability ran though the family bloodline as Albert had a talent for playing the piano and his brother grew to be a professional violinist.

At the age of eighteen, Albert attended Semmelweis University where he studied anatomy and began his research in his uncle’s lab. However, WWI would put a raincheck on his education as he joined the army in 1914 to serve as a medic. After two years of military enlistment, the horrors of the war became too much to bear. Albert devised the successful plan of shooting himself in the arm and showcasing the wound as an enemy attack. He was then released on medical leave and was able to complete his studies, earning his medical degree a year later. He married that same year. Though he left the war, he was not opposed to helping his fellow man. During WWII he helped several Jewish friends flee Germany and would later have a warrant issued for his arrest by Adolf Hitler for his discovered plan of traveling to Cairo to make negotiations with the Allies.

“Whatever man does he must do first in his mind.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi had attended a variety of universities in the years that followed, ultimately staying at the University of Groningen where he focused on cellular respiration which led to a position at Cambridge University. He earned his PhD in 1927 for his research that led him to the isolation of an organic acid from the adrenal gland. He named it hexuronic acid, but would ultimately identify it as vitamin C and, after discovering its antiscorbutic properties, gave it the formal name of L-ascorbic acid. Albert went on to research cellular respiration and in 1937 won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the biological combustion process in reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid. He founded the Institute for Muscle Research years later after researching the biophysics of muscles. He would continue his research in this area well into the 1950s. He later focused his interests on researching cancer and eventually established the National Foundation for Cancer Research and came to believe there was a link between free radicals and cancer.

“Research is four things: brains with which to think, eyes with which to see, machines with which to measure and, fourth, money.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi made monumental contributions to science and spent much of his life enveloped in the scientific community. Perhaps it isn’t surprising he would develop his own philosophies on the subject. He composed a book titled The Crazy Ape, addressing some scientific questions such as, “Why is it that most of the scientific research that is done to elevate human life serves in the end to destroy it?” Albert Szent-Györgyi suggests that the more technologically advanced we become, the more we regress socially and psychologically. He theorizes that today’s youth holds the key to the survival of the human race and calls to them to exercise their power to create a brighter future for the sake of mankind. To learn more about or purchase this title, please click here.

“Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi


Happy 142nd birthday to theorist, painter and composer Arnold Schoenberg!

Happy 142nd birthday to theorist, painter and composer Arnold Schoenberg! Today Philosophical Library is honoring Arnold Schoenberg for his contributions to art, poetry and music. Born on September 13, 1874 in Vienna, Arnold was raised in a Jewish, lower middle-class household. His musical education was mostly acquired through self-teaching, though he did receive some formal lessons. By the time he was in his twenties, Arnold was able to earn money orchestrating operettas while simultaneously working on his own pieces such as “Transfigured Night” which, later, would become one of his well-known compositions. He soon caught the attention of two respectable composers of his time, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler, the latter of whom took Arnold under his wing to guide and support his talents.

“If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.” – Arnold Schoenberg

In the years that followed, Arnold married and had two children while continuing to compose musical pieces.  Some of his most revolutionary works came about during the separation from his wife who had left him for a painter. During this period of turmoil, a shift occurred in his work. There was a noticeable change in the tone of his pieces as seen in “You Lean Against a Silver-Willow”.

“I never was very capable of expressing my feelings or emotions in words. I don’t know whether this is the cause why I did it in music and also why I did it in painting. Or vice versa: That I had this way as an outlet. I could renounce expressing something in words.” – Arnold Schoenberg

More turbulence came about during WWI when a forty-two year old Arnold Schoenberg found himself in the army. During this time, he attempted to compose music though left many pieces incomplete. With the requirements of his duties and frequent interruptions, he found it unmanageable to fully create.

“Composing is a slowed-down improvisation; often one cannot write fast enough to keep up with the stream of ideas.” – Arnold Schoenberg

By 1918, he founded the Society for Private Musical Performances where modern musical pieces could be rehearsed and performed without societal pressures. Over the course of its existence, the society helped composers showcase three-hundred fifty-three performances, though financial hardships forced a closure on this chapter. Still, Arnold went on to create many notable compositions and became influential among fellow composers as well as to his students.

“Music is only understood when one goes away singing it and only loved when one falls asleep with it in one’s head, and finds it still there on waking up the next morning.” – Arnold Schoenberg

Upon the emergence of the Nazi regime, Schoenberg, who was vacationing in France, was warned against returning to Germany. Due to this, he packed up his family and relocated to the United States where he took up a teaching position at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. He later moved and taught at universities in California, both of which named a music building in his honor. He continued to teach and mingle with fellow composers and eventually came to live quite comfortably until his death in 1951.

“I have never seen faces, but because I have looked people in the eye, only their gazes.” – Arnold Schoenberg

Arnold Schoenberg created quite the repertoire over the course of his lifetime. Along with the influential and notable pieces he composed, he also developed a series of essays which have been compiled into a book titled Style and Idea. Within these pages, composer meets author as Schoenberg addresses new and outdated music, twelve tone compositions, and entertaining through composing. He goes further to speak about the relationship to the text as well as the relationship between the heart and mind in music. For anyone who is a fan of the talents of Arnold Schoenberg, Style and Idea is sure to be an influential read and a telling look into the mind of the man behind the music.

“You cannot expect the Form before the Idea, for they will come into being together.” – Arnold Schoenberg



Philosophical Library would like to take a look back on the life of philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy

In honor of his 139th birthday, Philosophical Library would like to take a look back on the life of philosopher, historian and metaphysician Ananda Coomaraswamy. Born on August 22, 1877 in Colombo, Ceylon to an aristocratic family, Ananda faced the passing of his father at the early age of two and moved to England, his mother’s country of origin. Most of his youth was spent studying abroad. At the age of twelve, he began attending Wycliffe College and graduated from London’s University College with a degree in geology and botany by the age of twenty-three. Ananda returned to Ceylon to begin the four years worth of field work which would earn him a doctorate in science for his study of Ceylonese mineralogy. He wrote on the topic of mediaeval Sinhalese art which fueled his desire to educate the western world about Indian art. He returned to London and sought out artists he could possibly influence with his findings. Ananda eventually became acquainted with two of the city’s most famous artists of early Modernism. The artists soon began implementing details of Indian aesthetics into their pieces.

“What I have sought is to understand what has been said.” – Ananda Coomaraswamy

Ananda Coomaraswamy moved too India where he studied Rajput painting and, years later in 1917, traveled to the United States where he served as the first Keeper of Indian Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He spent much of his time in the bohemian art circles of New York City and formed friendships with many of the artists. Meanwhile, Ananda studied Western religious works, Sanskrit and Pali religious literature. Doing so allowed him to write catalogues which would appear in the Museum of Fine Arts. His work History of Indian and Indonesian Art was published in 1927.

“There is then no sacred or profane, spiritual or sensual, but everything that lives is pure and void.” – Ananda Coomaraswamy

By 1933, Ananda was appointed the title of Fellow for Research of Indian, Persian and Mohammedan Art at the museum. His contributions to the museum included building the first substantial collection of Indian art in the United States, and he continued his work there until his passing in 1947.

“The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.” – Ananda Coomaraswamy

Ananda Coomaraswamy was an early interpreter of Indian culture as he spent many years studying its works of art and literature. His philosophy of religion from the Indian point of view can be read in his book titled Hinduism and Buddhism. Here, Ananda suggests that those who study the religion from a meaningful perspective rather than a mere historical perspective will find the teachings of Indian religion to be extrinsic as well as the essential unity of all religions. Hinduism and Buddhism can be added to the collection of anyone seeking to delve deeper into the Indian culture of religion and philosophy. To purchase this title, please click here.

“[…] Buddhism has been so much admired mainly for what it is not.” – Ananda Coomaraswamy, Hinduism and Buddhism


Ananda Coomaraswamy. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 26, 2016, from

Happy 133rd birthday to scholar, yogi, author, and theosophist Ernest Wood

Today Philosophical Library would like to wish a happy 133rd birthday to scholar, yogi, author, and theosophist Ernest Wood who was born in Manchester, England on August 18, 1883. In his youth, Ernest attended school at the Manchester Municipal College of Technology. There, he studied chemistry, physics and geology. Aside from academics, Ernest held a deep interest in Buddhism as well as yoga, and so as a late teen he began to study Sanskrit. By age twenty-four he was the president of his Theosophist chapter. He moved to India a year later in 1908 where the Theosophical Society headquarters was located and became an assistant to the society’s president.

It becomes necessary to realize that the body is not conscious, but we are conscious of the body, also that the mind is not conscious but we are conscious of the mind.– Ernest Wood

A few years later, Ernest Wood delved into the world of education after the recommendation from the president of the Theosophical Society. He became a headmaster of schools and colleges that were founded by the society and taught physics as well as lecturing on theosophical ideas. He continued his lectures throughout India and many parts of Asia, Europe, and North and South America. Upon the ending of WWII, Ernest left India and settled in the United States where he served as president and dean at the American Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, California and later transitioned to the University of Houston in Texas.

It is not healthy to be thinking all the time. Thinking is intended for acquiring knowledge or applying it. It is not essential living.– Ernest Wood

Ernest Wood eventually grew disappointed with the Theosophical Society after a series of questionable events. He turned to yoga, studying its classic literature and publishing his writing on the subject. He strived to connect the classic yoga literature he had read to modern life and his own experiences.

Knowing is not thinking. Knowing begins when thinking ceases, having finished its work. Every new knowing is a joy, for it is a new experience of unity.– Ernest Wood

As his life wore on, Ernest took interest in the educational beliefs of Dr. Maria Montessori. He, his wife and Maria would go on to pursue and establish the first Montessori School in 1962 with Ernest serving as present of the school’s Board of Trustees. He helped provide and obtain resources for the school until his death in 1965.

Ernest Wood led a life filled with travel, new beginnings, experience and the pursuit of knowledge. He published many works during his lifetime including a noted piece titled Zen Dictionary. In this book, Ernest provides the audience with a clear picture of Zen ideas, history and biography in regards to its growth throughout China and Japan. The reader will find translations for Zen terms as well as discussions about Zen ideas. For anyone at the beginning of their journey into the world of Zen, this book makes for a helpful guide. For those already experienced in its practice, Zen Dictionary makes for a valuable part of your collection. To purchase this title, please click here.


The 111th birthday of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre

It’s three digits of a kind for today’s birthday honoree. On what would have been the 111th birthday of French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Philosophical Library is taking a look back on the life and work of this noted playwright, novelist, activist, critic and biographer. Born June 21, 1905 in Paris, France, Sartre was born to a navy officer and a mother whose cousin was none other than fellow philosopher and Nobel Prize laureate Albert Schweitzer. After his father’s death, he was moved to his grandparent’s house at the age of two with his mother. It was in his new home that he was introduced to mathematics and classical literature thanks to his grandfather, a teacher.

“Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

By the 1920s, an adolescent Sartre attended a private school in Paris where he studied psychology, philosophy, logic, ethics and sociology and physics. He went on to earn a diploma from Ecole Normale Superieure, a prestigious school of higher education known for producing many well-respected intellectuals and thinkers. It was at this institution that he met Simone de Beauvoir, a philosopher with whom he would share a life-long friendship and non-monogamous relationship. Sartre was first in his class, with Beauvoir coming in second; however, he would take a break from his academics once drafted into the French Army.

“When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

After serving his time in the armed forces, Sartre began teaching and continued to study philosophy. However, he would serve in the military during WWII and become a prisoner of war. While held captive, he wrote his first play titled Bariona. Once released from his duties and returning to civilian status, Sartre reclaimed his teaching position and co-founded a group called Socialism and Liberty with other writers such as Simone de Beauvoir. He would later leave his teaching career to focus on his writing and political activism. He would eventually embrace Marxism and would become the first French journalist to expose labor camps. Being passionate about exposing war crimes he fought to shed light on such injustices and, alongside Bertrand Russell, helped create a tribunal to do just that. Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964, but declined the prize, wishing to never be nominated as to not disrupt the balance of eastern and western culture by accepting a noted western cultural award.

”Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre contributed many works to the literary world during his lifetime. Some of his writing has been compiled into one book, such as The Philosophy of Existentialism. Here, a collection of essays covering a broad range of topics can be read. Sartre examines what it is to be human, applying his own experiences to explore the problems with faith, human emotions, aesthetics and even writing while making connections to his philosophy of existentialism. Continuing with the subject of writing, Sartre’s Literature and Existentialism discusses existentialism in terms of the writer and asks why one writes and for whom does one write. He maintains that the works of each writer exists by themselves and abstains from comparing one piece of writing to the next. The author also probes into the politics of Marxism as well as the laborious task of the writer.

“Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Another title from Sartre includes The Emotions: Outline of a Theory where the philosopher delves into the role of human emotions on the psyche. Within these pages, Sartre examines fear, lust, anguish and melancholy and writes that these emotions develop at an early age which helps them to be identified and understood later in life. For anyone interested in the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre or the theory of existentialism and how it can be applied to literature, philosophy and human emotions, please click here.



Marquis de Sade Celebrates his birthday Today.

Today we are taking a look back on the life of French philosopher Marquis de Sade on what would be his 276th birthday. Born in France on June 2, 1740, de Sade was raised in a household where the family dynamic was of questionable stability. He grew to be defiant and insubordinate in nature, possibly stemming from experiencing his father’s abandonment and having his mother leave to join a convent. This left de Sade to be raised by overindulgent servants whose compliance negatively shaped his character. Marquis de Sade was later sent off to a school in Paris by the name of Lycée Louis-le-Grand where he studied for four years where he encountered corporal punishment that would leave a permanent impression in his mind. In his still early youth, de Sade joined a military academy where he became a soldier and later worked his way up to the rank of a colonel who would fight in the Seven Years War.

“It is always by way of pain one arrives at pleasure.” – Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade led a life filled with scandalous encounters in the years that followed, and it is no wonder that the term “sadist” stems from the name of this French aristocrat. He had been known for finding, poisoning and abusing prostitutes and even employees in his castle to the point where he was placed under police surveillance. After years of mistreating countless victims, de Sade fled to Italy to avoid imprisonment. He was later captured when he returned to Paris and found a way to escape; however, he was soon found and sent to the Bastille and later an insane asylum. He was released in 1790 and began a political career despite his disreputable past. He was later imprisoned again for his erotic writing and sent once more to an asylum after being declared insane in 1803. He died eleven years later.

“Lust’s passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.” – Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade is perhaps known mostly for his infamous past, though he did produce many works still read today. During his lifetime he wrote pieces that were considered erotic, blasphemous and even illegal for that period of time. Published in 1800 is a collection of stories in a book titled Crimes of Passion by none other than the author himself. In this anthology, de Sade includes eleven tales including “Florville and Courval” which reinterprets the Oedipus myth and “Juliette and Raunai” which embodies the triumph of virture, but only after the characters experience a whirlwind of suffering. Also included is a story titled “Miss Henriette Stralson” where virtue also wins, but in such a way that the cost outweighs the victory. To read more about or purchase this title, please click here.