Throughout his life, German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) recorded his experiences and reflections in diaries and correspondence. This comprehensive biography is the first to explore these extensive and candid private writings that illuminate not only Jaspers’ life and relationships but also the ideas he proposed in Way to Wisdom, The Question of German Guilt, and many other published works.
Suzanne Kirkbright provides a sensitive and intimate portrait of the philosopher whose work on truth, personal integrity, and the capacity for communication contrasted acutely with the erosion of such values in Germany in his lifetime. She describes how Jaspers’ Jewish wife, Gertrud, influenced his thinking, the loss in 1937 of his professorship at Heidelberg University, and his relationship with such celebrated colleagues as Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt. Kirkbright examines the unshakeable ethical content of Jaspers’ philosophy and demonstrates his unique and scrupulous personal adherence to the philosophical principles he espoused.