Symbol, Myth, and Culture

Essays and Lectures of Ernst Cassirer, 1935-1945

Ernst Cassirer; Edited by Donald Phillip Verene

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The papers in this volume of Ernst Cassirer’s unpublished works give insight into the major issues that engaged Cassirer’s interest between 1935 and 1945.  The book begins with his inaugural address at the University of Göteborg, Sweden, in the first years of his exile from Hitler’s Germany, and ends with a talk to the Columbia Philosophy Club.  The note that introduces this piece was written on the day of his death. 
In his long and productive career, Ernst Cassirer always tried to integrate his works of original philosophy and studies in intellectual history into a general understanding of the nature of myth, culture, and symbol.  These essays show that his interest persisted to the end.  His piece on Judaism and political myths is perhaps the most dramatic in this collection, as it blends philosophical coolness with his deeply felt outrage at fascism. 
Best known in this country for The Myth of the State, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, and An Essay on Man, Ernst Cassirer has been read and studied by generations of students.  In this book they will find illuminations, in a more informal voice, of the major themes in Cassirer’s work.  New readers will be introduced to the great issues that occupied the interest of one of the twentieth century’s most widely read philosophers. 
“A genuine contribution to the history of modern philosophy – and of special value to the informed general reader, since it includes a number of valid attempts by Cassirer to translate his radical, sometimes difficult, concepts of culture into non-technical terms.”
-- The Booklist

"The papers collected in this volume represent, in one sense, Cassirer's last word, for these papers were written in the last decade of his life. . . . [Verene's] editing is thorough and conscientious."—Choice

"Verene's gathering of the unpublished essays and talks from the last 10 years of Cassirer's life, which is annotated throughout, is a genuine contribution to the history of modern philosophy—and of special value to the informed general reader, since it includes a number of valid attempts by Cassirer to translate his radical, sometimes difficult, concepts of culture into non-technical terms."—ALA Booklist

"Students of Philosophy owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Verene for this collection of unpublished papers and lectures of Ernst Cassirer. . . . Cassirer is one of the major figures of contemporary philosophy. There may be others of equal stature, there are no others that surpass him.."—Modern Age

"The essays in Symbol, Myth, and Culture serve as an interesting bridge between past and future for one interested in rhetoric and symbolic behavior. They invite us to return to Cassirer's earlier work, especially his three volumes on symbolic form, for the richness of insight present there. And they suggest that we turn our future attention to what we now know and will continue to learn about the operations of the human mind. Rewards awat us in both directions."—Richard B. Gregg, Philosophy and Rhetoric
ISBN: 9780300026665
Publication Date: March 11, 1981
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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