The Spinoza Problem by Irvin D. Yalom audiobook

The Spinoza Problem: A Novel

By Irvin D. Yalom
Read by Traber Burns

Blackstone Publishing 9780465061853
14.02 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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When sixteen-year-old Alfred Rosenberg is called into his headmaster’s office for anti-Semitic remarks he made during a school speech, he is forced, as punishment, to memorize passages about Spinoza from the autobiography of the German poet Goethe. Rosenberg is stunned to discover that Goethe, his idol, was a great admirer of the Jewish seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Long after graduation, Rosenberg remains haunted by this “Spinoza problem”: how could the German genius Goethe have been inspired by a member of a race Rosenberg considers so inferior to his own, a race he was determined to destroy? Spinoza himself was no stranger to punishment during his lifetime. Because of his unorthodox religious views, he was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community in 1656, at the age of twenty-four, and banished from the only world he had ever known. Though his life was short and he lived without means in great isolation, he nonetheless produced works that changed the course of history. Over the years, Rosenberg rose through the ranks to become an outspoken Nazi ideologue, a faithful servant of Hitler, and the main author of racial policy for the Third Reich. Still, his Spinoza obsession lingered. By imagining the unexpected intersection of Spinoza’s life with Rosenberg’s, internationally bestselling novelist Irvin D. Yalom explores the mindsets of two men separated by 300 years. Using his skills as a psychiatrist, he explores the inner lives of Spinoza, the saintly secular philosopher, and of Rosenberg, the godless mass murderer.

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Summary

Summary

When sixteen-year-old Alfred Rosenberg is called into his headmaster’s office for anti-Semitic remarks he made during a school speech, he is forced, as punishment, to memorize passages about Spinoza from the autobiography of the German poet Goethe. Rosenberg is stunned to discover that Goethe, his idol, was a great admirer of the Jewish seventeenth-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Long after graduation, Rosenberg remains haunted by this “Spinoza problem”: how could the German genius Goethe have been inspired by a member of a race Rosenberg considers so inferior to his own, a race he was determined to destroy?

Spinoza himself was no stranger to punishment during his lifetime. Because of his unorthodox religious views, he was excommunicated from the Amsterdam Jewish community in 1656, at the age of twenty-four, and banished from the only world he had ever known. Though his life was short and he lived without means in great isolation, he nonetheless produced works that changed the course of history.

Over the years, Rosenberg rose through the ranks to become an outspoken Nazi ideologue, a faithful servant of Hitler, and the main author of racial policy for the Third Reich. Still, his Spinoza obsession lingered. By imagining the unexpected intersection of Spinoza’s life with Rosenberg’s, internationally bestselling novelist Irvin D. Yalom explores the mindsets of two men separated by 300 years. Using his skills as a psychiatrist, he explores the inner lives of Spinoza, the saintly secular philosopher, and of Rosenberg, the godless mass murderer.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Yalom does a masterful job in bringing to life Spinoza and his philosophy and connecting it to the apocalyptic history of Nazi Germany and the persona of Alfred Rosenberg. It’s the sort of temporal alchemy and alchemy of science and fiction that Yalom does so well.” Abraham Verghese, New York Times bestselling author
“An accessible introduction to Spinoza’s complex philosophy.” Washington Post
The Spinoza Problem covers a vast amount of extraordinary historical territory.” San Francisco Chronicle
“Filled with vivid descriptions of place and bursting with brilliant insights…Highly original and absorbing.” Jewish Book World
“A gifted storyteller…The two tales amount to a mystery novel, although it is a mystery of a very cerebral kind.” Jewish Journal
“Highly intriguing…Yalom’s ability to make complex ideas and theories accessible is what makes his novels so popular.” Tucson Citizen
“Imaginative and erudite.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Why was Nazi leader and propagandist Alfred Rosenberg so obsessed with the seventeenth-century Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza?…The author, a psychiatrist, explores this strange juxtaposition of two historical figures with strongly held beliefs and totally different ideas of right and wrong.” Booklist
“Yalom is the perfect author to bring together Spinoza and Rosenberg in a novel…A highly intriguing exploration of the connection between a Jewish philosopher and a Nazi ideologue.” Shelf Awareness

Reviews

Reviews

by Rae 2/20/2019
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

The only mystery here is what this book is all about.

The author begins this novel by explaining that almost nothing is known about the man Spinoza. He then segues into a roman à clef where one of the characters is the nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg.

Author

Author Bio: Irvin D. Yalom

Author Bio: Irvin D. Yalom

Irvin D. Yalom is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Stanford University and the author of several highly acclaimed textbooks, including Existential Psychotherapy and The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. He is also the author of stories and novels related to psychotherapy, including Love’s Executioner, When Nietzsche Wept, Lying on the Couch, Momma and the Meaning of Life, and The Schopenhauer Cure. His recent nonfiction book is Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 14.02
Audience: Adult
Language: English