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The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it.

So what is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question. Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times. Instead of addressing it head-on, we take refuge from the feelings of 'meaninglessness' in our lives by filling them with a multitude of different things: from football and sex, to New Age religions and fundamentalism.

'Many of the readers of this book are likely to be as sceptical of the phrase "the meaning of life" as they are of Santa Claus', he writes. But Eagleton contends that in a world where we need to find common meanings, it is important that we set about answering the question of all questions; and, in conclusion, he suggests his own answer.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Review:

Review from previous edition The book's a little gem. (Suzanne Harrington, Irish Examiner (Cork))

Light hearted but never flippant. (The Guardian.)

Wonders never cease. This is popular philosophy by an amateur in the best sense of the word, a man who clearly loves the stuff and writes plain English...[Eagleton] makes his case well and with a light touch. (The Guardian (Review))

It is a stimulating and often entertaining, if at times rather breathless, Cook's tour around the chief monuments of western philosophy and literature...The Meaning of Life is unusual and refreshing. (John Gray, The Independent)

[Eagleton] makes his case well and with a light touch... I stand convinced. (Simon Jenkins, Guardian Book of the Week)

A lively starting point for late-night debate. (John Cornwell, Sunday Times)

Warm intellectual pleasure...meticulous treatment of the subject...It looks like Eagleton got it right. (Mario Pisani, The Financial Times)

The name Terry Eagleton...assures us of stimulation, style, sparkling, sometimes acerbic, wit, and wide-ranging erudition. In other words he is eminently readable...[a] commendably pocket-sized book. (Gordon Parsons, Morning Star)

With sparkling effrontery, panache, and deft footwork, Eagleton moves from ironic flippancy and caustic demolition to resolute affirmation. (Marina Warner)

About the Author:

Terry Eagleton is John Edward Taylor Professor of English at the University of Manchester. His recent publications include Holy Terror (2005); The English Novel: An Introduction (2004); After Theory (2003); Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002); The Idea of Culture (2000); The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996); and Literary Theory: An Introduction (2nd edition, 1996).

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it.So what is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question. Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times. Instead of addressing it head-on, we take refuge from the feelings of 'meaninglessness' in our livesby filling them with a multitude of different things: from football and sex, to New Age religions and fundamentalism. 'Many of the readers of this book are likely to be as sceptical of the phrase "the meaning of life" as they are of Santa Claus', he writes. But Eagleton contends that in a world where we need to find common meanings, it is important that we set about answering the question of all questions; and, in conclusion, he suggests his own answer.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199532179

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it.So what is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question. Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times. Instead of addressing it head-on, we take refuge from the feelings of 'meaninglessness' in our livesby filling them with a multitude of different things: from football and sex, to New Age religions and fundamentalism. 'Many of the readers of this book are likely to be as sceptical of the phrase "the meaning of life" as they are of Santa Claus', he writes. But Eagleton contends that in a world where we need to find common meanings, it is important that we set about answering the question of all questions; and, in conclusion, he suggests his own answer.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Seller Inventory # FOY9780199532179

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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. What is the meaning of life? In this witty, spirited, and stimulating inquiry, Eagleton shows how centuries of thinkers - from Shakespeare and Schopenhauer to Marx, Sartre and Beckett - have tackled the question. Refusing to settle for the bland and boring, Eagleton reveals with a mixture of humour and intellectual rigour how the question has become particularly problematic in modern times. Eagleton contends that in a world where we need to find common meanings, it is important that we set about answering the question of all questions; and, in conclusion, he suggests his own answer. The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited Very Short Introduction, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers—from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett—have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is only in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living—that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780199532179

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