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Existentialism in Literature and Film: Podcast by Hubert Dreyfus, U of Berkeley

abstract: I enjoy listening to podcasts in the evenings, and discovered a series that I know you will love too. Professor Dreyfus is a real curmudgeon by the sounds of things. He teaches "Existentialism in Literature and Film" in the Department of Philosophy UC Berkeley. (When I took philosophy at UCLA the professor said, "I am going to teach you how to think, how to reason.") His classes are full with 200 eager students, and more on the waiting list. He started podcasting as a way to reach the people who couldn't get into class. Soon, as one LA Times correspondent pointed out, he was broadcasting to oil rigs and other remote and isolated places. He receives regular feedback from listeners in Russia on his discussion of Dostoyevsky-how enlightening that must be! Each podcast is directly recorded, with all its amateur sound quality (no false voiced intros such as you hear in recordings) at UC Berkeley. They're are a delightful combination of lecture hall banter and didactic discourse, incorporating a select list of works of literature and film, from Plato to Present. If you're interested, tune into streaming audio or download the FREE podcasts from either itunes U or a podcast directory site called Learn Out Loud. The lectures address such questions as, "What is the similarity in sense of self between Dostoyevsky and Kierkegaard?" and "How does Plato's view the universe resemble (remarkably) some modern day philosophers?Ē Be sure to get the handouts he references here: The last movie, Breathless, is available free on Google Video. For those of you less interested in philosophy, the lectures are well worth listening to for the method of close reading Professor Dreyfus uses. Itís really a delight. A wonderful opportunity to read or re-read the books he references and get more out of them and to apply the knowledge to your own life or gain insights into your current reading. Iíve included the links and to purchase books online. Start your home Philosophy in Literature lessons today.


October 18, 2009
— &linkCode

About Professor Dreyfus

Hubert Dreyfus (Ph.D., Harvard University). His research interests bridge the analytic and Continental traditions in 20th-century philosophy. He recently completed the second edition of On the Internet (Routledge). Luring Back The Gods is forthcoming from Free Press. Over the past several years his teaching has included a Discovery Course and courses on Heidegger and on Merleau-Ponty. He teaches at least one course every semester.

The Podcasts

Start with the "Introduction to Existentialism" and proceed from there.

Films and Books Used in the Lectures

Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) I chose this edition because it is "a page-turning, logically-presented and faithfully-executed rendition of Kierkegaard's magnum opus: an edition suitable for almost anyone. The introduction by Baylor University's C. Stephen Evans is the most lucid commentary on Fear and Trembling I've ever read. Engaging, terse and fluid, Evans's essay lays the groundwork for a translation that conveys the Copenhagen writer's lyrical, dramatic and philosophic intentions with equal aplomb. When compared with the Penguin Classics edition, this rendition is more accessible, a quality I attribute to Sylvia Walsh's sensitive understanding of the original text and Evans's ability to relay Kierkegaard's stealthy, pseudonymous writings to a modern audience."

The Third Man - Criterion Collection (2-Disc Edition)Watch the movie starring Orson Wells and then read the book by Graham Greene. The Amazon review says, "There have been few better movies in the history of the planet than The Third Man, and fewer still as brilliantly directed from second to second. Orson Welles played the title role, and his legend has tended to engulf the film. But it was directed by Carol Reed and written--except for a Wellesian riff on the Borgias--by Graham Greene, and the credit for this masterpiece is properly theirs. Theirs and Joseph Cotten's; for awesome as Welles is, his Citizen Kane second banana is onscreen about six times as much, and Cotten uses every minute to create one of the most distinctive--if also forlorn--of modern heroes."

The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts and an Epilogue (Penguin Classics) Yes, for this volume we are recommending the Penguin edition. It's a book you should have in your home library, and if you choose to watch the film version, check out the DVD NTSC 2009 version Bratya Karamazovy / The Brothers Karamazov " > in Russian with English subtitles. Cool.

Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Nietzsche (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) This edition also contains, The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo and Other Writings. It will make a nice bright green matched-set with the Kierkegaard volume above.

The Gay Science (couldn't find this)

Breathless This is a Criterion Collection Director Series. Two other Jean-Luc Goddard films are included: "Band Of Outsiders" and "Contempt" in addition to "Breathless". This is an Exclusive. Jean Luc Goddard made "Breathless" (the movie under discussion) in 1960. It was banned for 4 years. It heralded the director as a leader in the French New Wave of film making genre. Goddard was as popular then as Quentin Tarantino is today. His use of modern technique and cinematic style are remain current. Of course these are all French with English subtitles. The story is about a young thug who models himself on Humphrey Bogart, steals a car, shoots a policeman and goes on the run. He beguiles a beautiful woman who unwittingly hides him in her apartment, and then eventually turns him in, but not before telling him she is going to do so. I won't spoil the ending for you. It seem rather obvious that Professor Dreyfus will talk about issues of free will and the individual struggle with good vs evil, sense of self and so on.

The Anti-Christ (is incluced in the previous volume of Nietzsche)



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