The Spinoza Problem: a novel

The Spinoza Problem: a novel

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Author: Yalom, Irvin D.
ISBN: 9781921844287
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Year First Published: 2012
Pages: 336
Dimensions: 209mm x 136mm x 21mm
Format: Paperback / softback

In 1909, sixteen-year-old Alfred Rosenburg is called into his headmaster's office for making anti-Semitic remarks. He is punished by having to memorise passages from the autobiography of Goethe - and is stunned to discover that his idol was a great admirer of the seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

Spinoza himself was no stranger to punishment- accused of heresy, he was excommunicated from the Jewish community and banished from the only world he had ever known. Nevertheless, he became one of the most influential philosophers of his age.

Long after graduation, Rosenberg is possessed by the 'Spinoza problem'- how could Goethe, the great German poet, have been inspired by a member of a race that Rosenburg considers inferior to his own? A race, that as he develops from anti-Semitic schoolboy to Nazi propagandist, he becomes determined to destroy?

In this brilliant re-creation of the inner worlds of two men separated by 300 years - one dedicated to fashioning a moral philosophy, the other obsessed with the superiority of the Aryan race - internationally bestselling novelist Irvin D. Yalom explores the thin psychological line that separates genius and evil, and the lives of two men who changed the course of history.

'Spinoza had no 'real life' outside his reading and writing- he lived in his brilliant mind. So how do you write about a philosopher - a writer beloved of Goethe, Schopenhauer, and so many other thinkers - who spent most of his time in thought? And how do you regard Spinoza - a Jew whose work helped to usher in the Enlightenment - if, indeed, you're a Nazi? Irvin Yalom is just the writer to take on such a problem, and he solves it, with his own novelistic brilliance, in this vibrant book. In my view, Yalom is one of the most eclectic, wide-ranging, and dazzling writers of our time.'
-Jay Parini, author of The Last Station and The Passages of H.M.

'Irvin Yalom is the most significant writer of psychological fiction in the world today. I didn't think he could top When Nietzsche Wept or The Schopenhauer Cure, but he has. The Spinoza Problem is a masterpiece.'
-Martin E. P. Seligman, author of Flourish

'Irvin Yalom's The Spinoza Problem is an amazing novel that combines fact and fiction in a spellbinding manner. Little is known about the psyche of either Baruch Spinoza or Alfred Rosenberg, yet using his extraordinary ability to peer into the minds of his patients, Dr. Yalom has produced a rare gem in existing literature. Only an incomparably gifted author could write such a fascinating and thought-provoking novel. A real page-turner.'
-Dr Dilip V. Jeste, distinguished professor of psychiatry & neurosciences at University of California, San Diego

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