Ecstasy, Catastrophe

Heidegger from Being and Time to the Black Notebooks

By David Farrell Krell

Subjects: Heidegger, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenology, Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy
Paperback : 9781438458267, 220 pages, July 2016
Hardcover : 9781438458250, 220 pages, August 2015

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Table of contents

Key to Works Cited
Part One. Ecstatic Temporality in Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927)
1. The Ecstases of Time
2. Raptures and Ruptures of Time
3. Ecstasy at the “Other End” of Dasein
4. Dasein Through the Looking-Glass
Interlude: Some Indefensible Ideas About Polemic and Criticism
Part Two. On the Black Notebooks (1931–1941)
5. Does Rescue Also Grow?
6. The Tragedy of the Black Notebooks

Lectures on ecstatic temporality and on Heidegger’s political legacy.


In Ecstasy, Catastrophe, David Farrell Krell provides insight into two areas of Heidegger's thought: his analysis of ecstatic temporality in Being and Time (1927) and his "political" remarks in the recently published Black Notebooks (1931–1941). The first part of Krell's book focuses on Heidegger's interpretation of time, which Krell takes to be one of Heidegger's greatest philosophical achievements. In addition to providing detailed commentary on ecstatic temporality, Krell considers Derrida's analysis of ekstasis in his first seminar on Heidegger, taught in Paris in 1964–1965. Krell also relates ecstatic temporality to the work of other philosophers, including Aristotle, Augustine, Kant, Schelling, Hölderlin, and Merleau-Ponty; he then analyzes Dasein as infant and child, relating ecstatic temporality to the "mirror stage" theory of Jacques Lacan.

The second part of the book turns to Heidegger's Black Notebooks, which have received a great deal of critical attention in the press and in philosophical circles. Notorious for their pejorative references to Jews and Jewish culture, the Notebooks exhibit a level of polemic throughout that Krell takes to be catastrophic in and for Heidegger's thought. Heidegger's legacy therefore seems to be split between the best and the worst of thinking—somewhere between ecstasy and catastrophe.

Based on the 2014 Brauer Lectures in German Studies at Brown University, the book communicates the fruits of Krell's many years of work on Heidegger in an engaging and accessible style.


"…[the book] reveals Krell as a generous and gracious thinker and teacher. " — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews