“Considered individually, The Philosophy of Disenchantment and Anatomy of Negation would stand as valuable contributions to the literature of philosophical pessimism and supernatural skepticism respectively. Taken together, the effect is alchemic – and volatile.”
—Chip Smith, from the foreword.
“I wrote The Philosophy of Disenchantment, which is, I think, the gloomiest and worst book ever published. Out of sheer laziness, I then produced a history of atheism, The Anatomy of Negation, which has been honoured by international dislike. Need I state that of all my children it is the one that I prefer?”
On Edgar Saltus.
“America has not produced a round dozen of authors who equal him in brilliancy of style. The neglect of this man is one of the most astounding phenomena in the history of American letters.”
—Carl Van Vechten
“There are three mysteries in American literature—the appearance of Edgar Allen Poe, the disappearance of Ambrose Bierce, and the burial alive of Edgar Saltus”
The Philosophy of Disenchantment.
“Mr. Saltus is a scientific pessimist, as witty, as bitter, as satirical, as interesting and as insolent to humanity in general as are his great teachers, Schopenhauer and Von Hartmann. there is a prodigious and prodigal display of genius in his work that is a history of antitheism from Kapila to Leconte de Lisle.”
The Anatomy of Negation.
“A whole library of pessimism compressed into one small volume by a writer whose understanding of the value of words amounts almost to genius.”
“The work is remarkable in every way and its originality and power will compel for it more than an ephemeral existence, for independently of the force with which it deals with its theme its literary merits are of a high order, and its reflections are those of a bold, brilliant and able thinker.”
—Boston Saturday Review.
Foreword by Chip Smith. 7
The Philosophy of Disenchantment. 15
The Genesis of Disenchantment. 17
The High Priest of Pessimism. 45
The Sphinx’s Riddle. 77
The Borderlands of Happiness. 113
The Great Quietus. 143
Is Life an Affliction? 177
The Anatomy of Negation. 197
The Revolt of the Orient. 199
The Negations of Antiquity. 223
The Convulsions of the Church. 249
The Dissent of the Seers. 281
The Protests of Yesterday. 315
A Poet’s Verdict. 351