I actually used this anthology as a textbook in an honors freshman English class I taught way back when. Remembering it as a splendid source of all sorts of ideas about literature and art, I wanted to return to it to refresh my memories of what it contains.

I had forgotten the philosophical density of many of the entries, and often found myself in deeper intellectual waters than I'm accustomed to: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Schopenhauer, Whitehead, Dewey, William James, Croce, Nietzsche, Bergson, Kierkegaard, Barth, Tillich. I floundered, but never sank.

And I found a solution to a problem that has been bothering me: If we're postmodern, what is it that we're post?

To be modern is to have experienced the death of God. And not only that, to have gone through some if not all of the Kübler-Ross "stages of grief": denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Few moderns, of course, stay long in denial — that's the place for the fundamentalists of the religious right today. But many of them are angry about it, and blame the Enlightenment and rationalists, or materialists, or scientists for killing off God. And they turn to bargaining, trying to replace divinity with the imagination, or with historical process, or with evolution toward an Übermensch.

Depression seems to lead to existentialist resignation. And acceptance opens the gate to the postmodern acceptance of plurality, of diversity, of subjectivity, and the rejection of metaphysics.

Or as Samuel Beckett put it: "I can't go on, I'll go on."

It may be hard to find a copy of the book today. Amazon has it from various second-hand sources, and you may run across it in used bookstores. If you do, I urge you to pick it up.