Forrest Williams (review date 6 January 1966)
SOURCE: A review of Reason and Violence, in The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. LXIII, No. 1, January 6, 1966, pp. 26-8.
[In the following review of Reason and Violence, Williams maintains that, while Laing's summaries of Jean-Paul Sartre's Saint Genet: Comédien et martyr (Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr; 1952), Questions de méthode (Search for a Method; 1963), and Critique de la raison dialectique (Critique of Dialectical Reason; 1960) are accurate and succinct, the book fails to make Sartre's ideas accessible to the reader unfamiliar with his philosophical terminology.]
Reason and Violence is a résumé of the three major works written by Jean-Paul Sartre in the fifties. In a brief foreword, Sartre himself praises the book of R. D. Laing and D. G. Cooper as "a very clear and faithful exposition." There can be no question, indeed, of the economy and accuracy of their summaries of Saint Genet, Questions de méthode, and volume I of Critique de la raison dialeclique, "Théorie des ensembles pratiques." But precisely because these are entirely faithful condensations, one is hard put to conceive the Anglo-American reader to whom the book will be useful. Sartre's philosophic prose is among the most ungrateful in the twentieth century, and a faithfully miniaturized version in English can be of little help to the uninitiated. The two shorter sections,...
(The entire section is 582 words.)