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200 × 130 × 15 mm
192 pages
27 illustrations
01 Aug 2012
Critical Lives

Arthur Schopenhauer Peter B. Lewis

Arthur Schopenhauer devoted his adult life to the articulation of a philosophy for the world, a philosophy that would benefit mankind by providing a solution to the riddle of existence. Often considered a thoroughgoing pessimist, Schopenhauer in fact advocated ways – via artistic, moral and ascetic forms of awareness – to overcome a frustration-filled and fundamentally painful human condition. Though presented in luminous prose, Schopenhauer’s philosophy was ignored for most of his life. Yet fifty years after his death his ideas were being celebrated by intellectuals, writers and artists. His name became a byword for philosophical greatness.

This new critical biography provides a concise introduction to the life and work of the nineteenth-century German philosopher, situating the principal doctrines of his philosophy in the context of his life. Philosopher and scholar Peter B. Lewis describes and explains all the major events, as well as the philosopher's ideas on the meaning of life, the nature of art, religion and morality. He also relates Schopenhauer’s ideas to the intellectual and cultural background of early nineteenth-century Germany.

Schopenhauer’s philosophy has always held a special attraction for those who wonder about life’s meaning, as well as those interested in music, literature and the visual arts. Illustrated with portraits and photographs of Schopenhauer, and his family and contemporaries, Arthur Schopenhauer will engage all those readers, as well as students and scholars of Schopenhauer and nineteenth-century philosophy.

Peter B. Lewis is former Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, and has published widely in the field. He is editor of Wittgenstein, Aesthetics and Philosophy (2004).


1. The Sins of the Father
2. A High Mountain Road
3. Dr Schopenhauer
4. The Great Work
5. The Art of Genius
6. The Mystery of Compassion
7. The Sage of Frankfurt
8. ‘Posterity will erect monuments to me’

Photo Acknowledgements