Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973) stands outside the traditional canon of twentieth-century French philosophers. Where he is not simply forgotten or overlooked, he is dismissed as a ‘relentlessly unsystematic’ thinker, or, following Jean-Paul Sartre’s lead, labelled a ‘Christian existentialist’ — a label that avoids consideration of Marcel’s work on its own terms. How is one to appreciate Marcel’s contribution, especially when his oeuvre appears to be at odds with philosophical convention? Helen Tattam proposes a range of readings, as opposed to one single interpretation: a series of departures or explorations that bring Marcel’s work into contact with critical partners such as Henri Bergson, Paul Ricoeur and Emmanuel Lévinas and other insights into a host of twentieth-century philosophical shifts concerning time, the subject, the other, ethics, and religion.
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