WALTER KAUFMANN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Walter Kaufmann (July 1, 1921 - September 4, 1980) was a 20th-century philosopher, scholar, and poet. He is chiefly remembered for his translations of Nietzsche and his anthology of so-called existentialist work, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre.


However, he produced much original philosophy which is seen to have great merit on its own account. He believed that critical analysis and acquiring knowledge is a liberating and empowering force. Much of his work is concerned to some degree with, or touches upon, subjects related to what we now call authenticity.


He had a full life, converting from Christianity to Judaism at the age of twelve. The rise of Nazism did not influence, nor deter his conversion. His writings testify to ongoing changes in his spiritual beliefs.


He emigrated to America in 1939, and attended Williams College, where he majored in Philosophy, and took many religion classes. He then spent 15 months in military service abroad during World War II. Returning to America, Kaufmann earned his PhD in the philisophy of religion from Harvard in April 1947, with a disseration on “Nietzche’s Theory of Values". Before the end of the month, he was appointed a professor of philosophy at Princeton, where he remained until his death in 1980.


Partial Bibliography


Original Works
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
From Shakespeare to Existentialism
Critique of Religion and Philosopohy
Tragedy and Philosophy
Hegel (later re-issued in two paperback volumes)
The Faith of a Heretic
Without Guilt and Justics
Cain and Other Poems
The Future of the Humanities
Religions in Four Dimensions
Discovery the Mind, a trilogy consisting of
Goethe, Kant, and Hegel
Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Buber
Freud, Adler, and Jung
Man’s Lot Trilogy, consisting of
Life at the Limits
Time is an Artist
What is Man?
Twenty-Five German Poets (supercedes the earlier Twenty German Poets)
Goethe’s Faust
Judaism and Christianity, essays by Leo Baeck
I and Thou, by Martin Buber
Anthologies/Edited works
Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
Religion from Tolstoy to Camus (a companion to the above)
Philosophic Classics, 3 volumes
Hegel’s Political Philosophy
Foreword to Alienation by Richard Schacht
Forword to Frau Lou, by Rudolph Binion