Two Heidegger Reviews

NDPR has reviews of two new Heidegger translations – Introduction to Philosophy — Thinking and Poetizing and Country Path Conversations. In the first, Katherine Withy rightly notes the slender volume and its meager rewards – the English translation is less than the German volume of the Gesamtausgabe (Vol 50) because some of the materials were translated elsewhere. But as Withy notes – and I tried to unpick in more detail in an earlier post – it’s not simple.

In the second, Iain Thomson provides some interesting biographical and political details to situate the conversations:

As soon as Heidegger was discharged from the Volkssturm in December (for the recurrent “heart problems” that now look like psychosomatic symptoms of severe anxiety), he fled on his son’s bicycle from the city of Freiburg (where he lived and taught) to his hometown of Messkirch (some 75 miles away!) so as to stay out of the grasp of the French Army. Heidegger spent the next few months writing in Messkirch and teaching at the nearby Wildenstein Castle (an idyllic site high in the hills above Beuron, with a panoramic view of the Danube river valley below), where has was soon joined by what remained of Freiburg University’s philosophy department. The philosophy faculty taught joint seminars to about 30 women students and also helped the local farmers bring in their hay harvest in order to earn their own keep (food and other necessities being extremely scarce).

Heidegger felt truly in his element here, and even planned to have one of the towers of Wildenstein Castle restored with hopes of working there in close proximity to the Princess. (He paid a year’s rent on the tower but the shortage of laborers and materials made the project impossible to complete at the time).

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