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Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

by

Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy Cover

ISBN13: 9780374530716
ISBN10: 0374530718
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One day when Sophie comes home from school, she finds two questions in her mail: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? Before she knows it, she is pondering all the great questions of Western philosophy (from the Greeks to Kant, to Marx and Freud) with a mysterious mentor. But Sophie is also receiving a separate batch of equally unusual letters. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up in Sophie's world? To solve this riddle, Sophie uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.

Review:

"Woven into the twist-run plot, the lectures on philosophy frantically approach the 20th century in order to conclude simultaneously with the story framing them. Mr. Gaarder discovers ingenious ways to make the thought of each philosopher pertain to Sophie's — and Hilde's — solution of her personal mystery. A climactic philosophical garden party becomes the novel's most comic and memorable set piece, inserting into this Norwegian book of virtues, with its homage to the Western intellectual canon and its spirit of common sense, a counterspirit of carnival and sexual anarchy....As philoso-narrative, Sophie's World is a world above 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' but a universe below The Magic Mountain. In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism." John Vernon, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Sophie's World is sheer delight. How I wish I'd had it during my college freshman survey of philosophy!" Madeleine L'Engle

Review:

"Involving and often humorous." USA Today

Review:

"Sophie's World [is] Gaarder's history of Western philosophy embedded in a science fiction-like novel...[and I can] understand the unusual enthusiasm the book has generated....[In] an entertaining brainteaser of a novel....Sophie thinks like a Platonist in the early part of the course, like an empiricist in the middle, and like an existentialist toward the end." Books & Culture

Review:

"Gaarder pulls off the difficult feat of blending philosophy and entertainment." School Library Journal

Review:

"This entertainingly framed outline of Western thought...concerns the education of fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen, who turns fifteen, and comes to terms with her status as a fictional character, by the end of the novel." John Updike

Synopsis:

A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophies World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learningbut the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

Jostein Gaarder was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. He taught high-school philosophy for several years before publishing a collection of short stories in 1986 and, shortly thereafter, his first two novels, The Solitaire Mystery and Sophie's World, and several others since then. He lives in Oslo with his family.
One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learningbut the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.
"First, think a beginner's guide to philosophy . . . Next, imagine a fantasy novelsomething like a modern-day version of Through the Looking Glass. Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international bestseller . . . [A] tour de force."Time
"First, think a beginner's guide to philosophy . . . Next, imagine a fantasy novelsomething like a modern-day version of Through the Looking Glass. Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international bestseller . . . [A] tour de force."Time
 
"Extraordinary . . . The book will serve as a first-rate introduction to anyone who never took an introductory philosophy course, and as a pleasant refresher for those who have."Newsweek
 
"Remarkable . . . A whimsical and ingenious mystery novel that also happens to be a history of philosophy."The Washington Post Book World
 
"As remarkable for its playful premise as for its accessibility . . . The essential charm of Sophie's World lies in the innocent curiosity of the young character, and the clever narrative structure Gaarder designed to pique it."Columbus Dispatch
 
"Brilliant . . . Unlike any other novel . . . Its depth of learning, its intelligence, and its totally original conception give it enormous magnetic appeal . . . To be fully human, and to feel our continuity with 3,000 years of philosophical inquiry, we need to put ourselves in Sophie's world."Boston Sunday Globe
 
“Gaarders novel, brilliant in its philosophical scope and concision, narrates the intellectual maturation of its protagonist, Sophie Amundsen, a 14 year-old girl living in Norway . . . It is a wonderful source for a basic introduction to philosophy, especially for younger generations of readers who have already devoured J.K. Rowlings and Philip Pullmans books and who are looking for something else to satiate their desire for intellectual intrigue, mystery and adventure.”Marcie Bianco, Feminist Review
 
"A simply wonderful, irresistible book . . . A cross between Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy and Alice in Wonderland."The Daily Telegraph [UK]
 
"A rare bird indeed, a short history of Western philosophical thought from Socrates to Sartre, coyly embedded in the wrapping of a suspense novel."New York Newsday
 
"An entertaining brainteaser of a novel . . . Sophie thinks like a Platonist in the early part of the course, like an empiricist in the middle, and like an existentialist toward the end."Books & Culture
 
"From the opening Goethe quotation to the closing discussion of the Big Bang theory, this is an extraordinary, exciting, provocative book . . . Gaarder presents a didactic history of philosophical thought as part of a fictional mystery story that both pulls readers along and breaks up the 'heavy' explanations into manageable parts. Yet the plot is itself a philosophical conundrum, [and this] mystery, like the human mystery, is not really resolved, and leaves readers wanting to know more. Gaarder pulls off the difficult feat of blending philosophy and entertainment in a way that will capture young adults' interest and make them eager to explore further."School Library Journal

Synopsis:

A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

About the Author

Jostein Gaarder was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. He taught high school philosophy for several years, before publishing a collection of short stories in 1986 and, shortly thereafter, his first two novels, The Solitaire Mystery and Sophie's World, and several others since then. He lives in Oslo with his family.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Edward Hahn, February 17, 2014 (view all comments by Edward Hahn)
An attempt to explain philosophy in the format of a novel. It didn't work for me as well as it evidently has for millions of others.

It took me quite a while to wade through the book as it was focused more on explaining philosophical concepts than telling a story. The idea behind the book is creative and good. Perhaps my problem is I have always had a hard time understanding many philosophical concepts. This book didn't change that, admirable effort that it is.

I found "Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar...: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes" by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein more accessible and a lot more fun.

I cannot unreservedly recommend this book but I can suggest it might be a great introduction to philosophy for you.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374530716
Subtitle:
A Novel About the History of Philosophy
Author:
Gaarder, Jostein
Translator:
Moller, Paulette
Author:
Møller, Paulette
Author:
Moller, Paulette
Author:
Mller, Paulette
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
History
Subject:
General Philosophy
Subject:
Didactic fiction
Subject:
Philosophy -- History.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Fsg Classics
Publication Date:
20070320
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Index
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8.3 x 5.49 x 1.02 in

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Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy Used Trade Paper
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Product details 544 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374530716 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Woven into the twist-run plot, the lectures on philosophy frantically approach the 20th century in order to conclude simultaneously with the story framing them. Mr. Gaarder discovers ingenious ways to make the thought of each philosopher pertain to Sophie's — and Hilde's — solution of her personal mystery. A climactic philosophical garden party becomes the novel's most comic and memorable set piece, inserting into this Norwegian book of virtues, with its homage to the Western intellectual canon and its spirit of common sense, a counterspirit of carnival and sexual anarchy....As philoso-narrative, Sophie's World is a world above 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' but a universe below The Magic Mountain. In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy, which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism."
"Review" by , "Sophie's World is sheer delight. How I wish I'd had it during my college freshman survey of philosophy!"
"Review" by , "Involving and often humorous."
"Review" by , "Sophie's World [is] Gaarder's history of Western philosophy embedded in a science fiction-like novel...[and I can] understand the unusual enthusiasm the book has generated....[In] an entertaining brainteaser of a novel....Sophie thinks like a Platonist in the early part of the course, like an empiricist in the middle, and like an existentialist toward the end."
"Review" by , "Gaarder pulls off the difficult feat of blending philosophy and entertainment."
"Review" by , "This entertainingly framed outline of Western thought...concerns the education of fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen, who turns fifteen, and comes to terms with her status as a fictional character, by the end of the novel."
"Synopsis" by ,
A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophies World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: “Who are you?” and “Where does the world come from?” From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learningbut the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

Jostein Gaarder was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1952. He taught high-school philosophy for several years before publishing a collection of short stories in 1986 and, shortly thereafter, his first two novels, The Solitaire Mystery and Sophie's World, and several others since then. He lives in Oslo with his family.
One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learningbut the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.
"First, think a beginner's guide to philosophy . . . Next, imagine a fantasy novelsomething like a modern-day version of Through the Looking Glass. Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international bestseller . . . [A] tour de force."Time
"First, think a beginner's guide to philosophy . . . Next, imagine a fantasy novelsomething like a modern-day version of Through the Looking Glass. Meld these disparate genres, and what do you get? Well, what you get is an improbable international bestseller . . . [A] tour de force."Time
 
"Extraordinary . . . The book will serve as a first-rate introduction to anyone who never took an introductory philosophy course, and as a pleasant refresher for those who have."Newsweek
 
"Remarkable . . . A whimsical and ingenious mystery novel that also happens to be a history of philosophy."The Washington Post Book World
 
"As remarkable for its playful premise as for its accessibility . . . The essential charm of Sophie's World lies in the innocent curiosity of the young character, and the clever narrative structure Gaarder designed to pique it."Columbus Dispatch
 
"Brilliant . . . Unlike any other novel . . . Its depth of learning, its intelligence, and its totally original conception give it enormous magnetic appeal . . . To be fully human, and to feel our continuity with 3,000 years of philosophical inquiry, we need to put ourselves in Sophie's world."Boston Sunday Globe
 
“Gaarders novel, brilliant in its philosophical scope and concision, narrates the intellectual maturation of its protagonist, Sophie Amundsen, a 14 year-old girl living in Norway . . . It is a wonderful source for a basic introduction to philosophy, especially for younger generations of readers who have already devoured J.K. Rowlings and Philip Pullmans books and who are looking for something else to satiate their desire for intellectual intrigue, mystery and adventure.”Marcie Bianco, Feminist Review
 
"A simply wonderful, irresistible book . . . A cross between Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy and Alice in Wonderland."The Daily Telegraph [UK]
 
"A rare bird indeed, a short history of Western philosophical thought from Socrates to Sartre, coyly embedded in the wrapping of a suspense novel."New York Newsday
 
"An entertaining brainteaser of a novel . . . Sophie thinks like a Platonist in the early part of the course, like an empiricist in the middle, and like an existentialist toward the end."Books & Culture
 
"From the opening Goethe quotation to the closing discussion of the Big Bang theory, this is an extraordinary, exciting, provocative book . . . Gaarder presents a didactic history of philosophical thought as part of a fictional mystery story that both pulls readers along and breaks up the 'heavy' explanations into manageable parts. Yet the plot is itself a philosophical conundrum, [and this] mystery, like the human mystery, is not really resolved, and leaves readers wanting to know more. Gaarder pulls off the difficult feat of blending philosophy and entertainment in a way that will capture young adults' interest and make them eager to explore further."School Library Journal

"Synopsis" by ,
A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village. Through those letters, she enrolls in a kind of correspondence course, covering Socrates to Sartre, with a mysterious philosopher, while receiving letters addressed to another girl. Who is Hilde? And why does her mail keep turning up? To unravel this riddle, Sophie must use the philosophy she is learning--but the truth turns out to be far more complicated than she could have imagined.

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