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Existential Monday: Philosophical Essays

Benjamin Fondane | Edited, introduced, and translated by Bruce Baugh | New York Review Books | May 17, 2016

Benjamin Fondane 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. He 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.


"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."—Michel Carassou


More information is available on the publisher's website.