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W. N. A. Klever’s “Spinoza’s Life and Works”

 For those who have not been able to read it in the Cambridge Companion to Spinoza, Wim Klever’s iconoclastic “Spinoza’s Life and Works” is available in pdf [for a time this link did not work, now it does]. An excellent sweeping and detailed historical picture of the man. It is some 50 digital pages, but really worth reading.

From an early paragraph, responding to a reasonable sounding summation of his Life:

“Even in this rough survey some features are false, inaccurate, or slightly misleading. For the purpose of a reliable biography, a critical discussion of the available biographical documents is unavoidable. This is the more necessary because the old biographies sometimes show considerable differences in their presentation. I warn the reader that this chapter is a reconstruction of Spinoza’s life story on the basis of a new interpretation of the sources and the presentation of some new sources. I will, however, offer the basic material so that the reader may judge whether I am right or not.”

(Central to Klever’s telling is the introduction of the intellectual and radical political figure of Franciscus van den Enden, Spinoza Latin teacher and possible mentor.)

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