In September 1940, after seven years of exile, Walter Benjamin crosses the Pyrenees in a desperate attempt to escape the Nazis. According to the official version, Walter Benjamin did make it across the French-Spanish border successfully. But when he arrived in the Catalan town of Portbou, a sudden change in legislation impeded his entry into Spain and he was obliged to spend the night at a local hotel under the close vigilance of three guards, whose orders were to deport him the following morning. In utter despair, Benjamin took his own life, swallowing an overdose of morphine. The local doctor, however, declared it a natural death and Benjamin was given a Catholic burial in the municipal cemetery, under a wrong name. Did the doctor conceal some hidden cause of Benjamin´s death? Was there really a change of legislation? Was Walter Benjamin aware that Portbou was a pro-Franco town virtually occupied by the Nazis?
Most people recognize his name and know that he is famous for having said something, but considering the long-lasting impact his teachings have had on the world, very few people know who Confucius really was, what he really said… and why. Bryan W. Van Norden reveals the man behind the mystery.
The areas in which philosophy and literature overlap are examined in this program by renowned Oxford novelist Iris Murdoch. Style and structure in philosophical writing are compared and contrasted with those in literature. The narrative abilities of Plato, Schopenhauer, and Kant are examined. Philosophy’s predilection for accepting only literature that supports its theories is discussed as a source of antagonism between the two disciplines.