Friday, August 03, 2012
From Publishers Weekly's top 10 most difficult books.
Being and Time is probably the hardest book I've ever read. To contradict what I said vis-a-vis Joyce, I don't feel comfortable as a reader of Heidegger letting things wash over me. Literary meaning and philosophical meaning are different beasts, and Being and Time, with its intentionally obtrusive neologisms, isn't meant to be dreamlike. It aims instead to be, among other things, a new kind of science, or a new foundation on which to build the sciences - an understanding of what it means "to be." Heiddeger gets a lot of things shockingly right, and yet the book's abstractness and rigor mean that most of his discoveries remain well-kept secrets. Even reading the first half in a graduate-level seminar, it took me over a year to get through this one. Was persevering worth it? Well, it changed my life. I don't know how much more a reader can ask for.
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