Finding the need for some respite from the brilliant intensity of Anna Kavan’s fiction I turned to last year’s reissue of Walter Kaufmann’s The Faith of a Heretic. If Kaufmann, in his all too brief life, had written advertising copy, I’d be rather tempted to buy his collected blurbs. Whatever the subject, Kaufmann writes with lucidity but also a rare wit. He writes of the Mormon religion:
Mormons believe that couples joined in holy matrimony in a Mormon Temple will enjoy each other’s company in all eternity, while those married elsewhere are married for this life only. What strikes them as enviable would be more likely, in most cases, to be hell itself.
Some of us don’t even manage to stay married for this life. I’ve never heard of this book, I have always associated Kaufmann with the standbys from my philosophy undergrad years and did not think much beyond (after all I was young and foolishly newly married in those days myself).
I know Kaufmann best from his terrific Nietzsche book, and was looking forward to this being reissued. This is how Stanley Corngold concludes a charming introduction: “His work will address you and force you to inquire into beliefs you did not know you held. It will make you go deeper into yourself. You will be amazed.” I don’t doubt it.