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The Terror of Existence

Written by: Theodore Dalrymple,Kenneth Francis
Narrated by: Jack Wynters
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Publisher's Summary

The cultural death of God has created a conundrum for intellectuals. How could a life stripped of ultimate meaning be anything but absurd? How was man to live? How could he find direction in a world of no direction? What would he tell his children that could make their lives worthwhile? What is the ground of morality? 

Existentialism is the literary cri de coeur resulting from the realization that without God, everything good, true, and beautiful in human life is destined to be destroyed in a pitiless material cosmos. Theodore Dalrymple and Kenneth Francis examine the main existentialist works, from Ecclesiastes to the Theatre of the Absurd, each man coming from a different perspective. Francis is a believer, Dalrymple is not, but both empathize with the struggle to find meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe. 

Part literary criticism, part philosophical exploration, this book holds many surprising gems of insight from two of the most interesting minds of our time.

©2018 Anthony M. Daniels and Kenneth Francis (P)2018 New English Review Press

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  • 20shop11
  • 2020-01-28

Theism does not win, but secularism loses.

An informative and thoughtful collection of essays analyzing the great works of existential and nihilist literature and how this literature both expressed and prepared the West for embracing the divorce of faith and reason thereby ushering in the present postmodernist decadence---itself another failed post-Enlightenment project---and the death of meaning. Nietzsche's Parable of a Madman fairly captures the post-Darwinian dilemma wrought by the "Death of God" and the loss of human agency as reductionist naturalism asserts that only science can give humanity complete and reliable knowledge of reality; a self-refuting claim. The artistic works discussed in this collection of essays do an outstanding job of illustrating the topics considered in this book. In fact, this format of literary criticism and philosophical discussion is an excellent way to explore these topics with the guidance of two learned thinkers whose views differ respectfully.

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  • Tal
  • 2019-02-04

Great book

Great book. I like the disposition of the author. Christians have a point there. Recommended

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  • Carl R. Berner
  • 2020-07-24

Excellent choices of philosophers, theologians...

What a cogent argument from both sides, well presented and represented by each authors defenders. Also, the narrator was superb. Thank you for an enjoyable and enlightening listen.

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  • Zachary C. Linde
  • 2021-06-28

A guide to further reading

This book is a series of essays written by two authors about various other books, plays, and movies that impacted their views of the existential problems we face. It serves as a great starting point for further exploration, making you want to read each of the works mentioned. The narration is excellent - it is calm while remaining engaging.

If you enjoy thinking about existential matters such as life, death, and God, this book is definitely for you.

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  • Mathew
  • 2022-11-15

Good narration insightful study

I really enjoyed this short book. The study of the different classical works by the two juxtaposed opinions of the authors is very insightful. The narration is well done and adds to the book. If you want something to provoke your thoughts this is the book for you! Will definitely revisit with a second listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-11-05

chapter 14/15 especially

Francis goes absolutely unhinged for two essays, blaming society for oppressing white christian males and comparing modern America multiple times to gulags and internment camps. Incredibly up his own ass, he hardly links it to the rest of the book, which is to say he doesn't. The whiplash is real, reading these unhinged rants against "anti-christians" back to back with Dalrymples dissection of Hamlet. I mean other than that he has some wonderful points to think about.