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Sophie's World (1991)

by Jostein Gaarder

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
17,114257239 (3.77)171
When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined. A phenomenal worldwide bestseller, SOPHIE'S WORLD sets out to draw teenagers into the world of Socrates, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel and all the great philosophers. A brilliantly original and fascinating story with many twists and turns, it raises profound questions about the meaning of life and the origin of the universe.… (more)
Recently added byEEMLHS, Joewig, dacejav, nickrowe, ssg62, ampage, private library, kristiederuiter, ndyso8, Pxan02
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, Eeva-Liisa Manner
  1. 51
    The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (Percevan)
  2. 41
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: As the main characters develop, they also uncover fascinating mysteries with philosophical/psychological significance. Very intellectual reads with twisted, intense plots!
  3. 00
    The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers by Will Durant (Cecrow)
  4. 00
    Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (beyondthefourthwall)
    beyondthefourthwall: Experimental metafiction that looks like a bit of a gimmick from afar but up close manages to pull it off.
  5. 00
    The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur by Viktor Pelevin (spiphany)
  6. 00
    Looking At Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter by Donald Palmer (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Another fun introduction to philosophy from a former professor. "Does the Centre Hold?" is also very good.
  7. 11
    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Their both lecture style novels which use fiction to present a variety of different thoughts and philosophies.
  8. 00
    The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor (GirlMisanthrope)
  9. 00
    Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (mrsbronwyngreen)
  10. 01
    Det store eventyret om virkeligheten : en fantastisk fortelling om den nye fysikken by Jack Falao (Percevan)
  11. 03
    Sorcery and Cecelia, or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Both books contain letter correspondence, and they also both have supernatural/fantasy elements. Likable girls as the main characters.
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» See also 171 mentions

English (198)  Spanish (19)  Dutch (11)  French (7)  Swedish (3)  Finnish (3)  German (3)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (256)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
A history of philosophy in the guise of a novel about a teenage girl
The original was written in Norwegian by a high school teacher who intended this to be a history of philosophy, but who realized that few people would buy and read a straightforward history, and structured it as a series of lectures from a mysterious philosopher, addressed to Sophie, a 14 year old girl. The philosopher, Alberto Knox, sent mysterious notes, and Sophie also received postcards from Alberto Knag, a UN Major in Lebanon, sent to his daughter Hilde. Strange events followed, causing Sophie and Alberto to believe that "the major" was controlling their lives. In the middle of the book, Hilde becomes the protagonist, reading the novel that is this book written by her father. The philosophy lectures are clear, but suffer from an annoying tic of interjecting a banal comment from Sophie after almost every paragraph. The book is long, and not easy to read because of the philosophical ideas.
Quotes:
"...the Stoic Seneca (4 B.C. to A.D 65) said that 'to mankind, mankind is holy.' This has remained a slogan for humanism ever since" (p 125)

"Swami Vivekananda, an Indian who was instrumental in bringing Hinduism to the west, once said, 'Just as certain world religions say that people who do not believe in a personal God outside themselves are atheists, we say that a person who does not believe in himself is an atheist. Not believing in the splendor of ones own soul is what we call atheism.' " (p 130)

"In Snorri's stories of the old Norse gods, some of the myths are similar to the myths of India that were handed down from two to three thousand years earlier" (p 141)

"One of the central figures of the Renaissance was Marsilio Ficino, who exclaimed: 'Know thyself, O divine lineage in mortal guise!' Another central figure, Pico della Mirandola, wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, something that would have been unthinkable in the Middlel Ages." (p 187)

"[Kant] "Two things fill my mind with ever increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the reflection dwells on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me." (p 318)

"Credo quia absurdum" [I believe because it is irrational] (p360)

"[Freud] One is what he called parapraxes - slips of the tongue or pen." ( )
  neurodrew | Apr 6, 2022 |
I first read "Sophie's World" when I was in high school (I think?) and enjoyed it then. This time, I'm reading along with a student who is working on a philosophy project. I'm finding it useful for teaching her, although it's beginning to feel like homework. Decent introduction to philosophy, although it's definitely focused on certain branches of philosophy and leaves others out. I'm a political theory person, and there's not much there for political theory. Also, woefully lacking in more contemporary philosophy: some time to Sartre, but besides that it leaves out most of the 20th century. I found the frame story tedious, although I remember thinking it was cute when I was younger. ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
This is without a doubt one of the most interesting books I've ever read.
Sophie learns from her philosophy tutor, Alberto, and we learn alongside her about the history of philosophical thought while also witnessing the strange developments in her life which start happening after she starts her philosophy classes.
It's as important as ever for us humans to be asking ourselves the questions which Sophie herself has to face throughout the course of this book.
There's also a very interesting twist at the end.
Loved it! ( )
  MaryyZahra | Mar 9, 2022 |
ان الميزه الوحيده لكي يصبح الانسان فيلسوفا جيدا هي قدرته علي الدهشه ( )
  abdalaziz | Mar 3, 2022 |
252
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
As philoso-narrative, "Sophie's World" is a world above "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" but a universe below "The Magic Mountain." In my view, literate readers would do better to try Bertrand Russell's "History of Western Philosophy," which is shorter on magic but longer on wit, intelligence and curmudgeonly skepticism.
 

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaarder, Josteinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buchholz, QuintCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eriksson, MonaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haefs, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klok, JankeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Møller, PauletteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pijttersen, LucyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Savolainen, KatriinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoeijing, KimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
الحويك عطية , حياةTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
He who cannot draw on three thousand years

is living from hand to mouth.


Goethe
"Colui che non è in grado di darsi conto di
tremila anni rimane al buio e vive alla giornata".

JOHANN WOLFGANG GOETHE
Dedication
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Este libro no habría nacido sin el alentador apoyo de Siri Dannevig. También quiero agradecer a Maiken Ims su revisión del manuscrito y sus valiosos comentarios. Mi gran agradecimiento también a Trond Berg Eriksen por sus cariñosas observaciones y sólido apoyo profesional durantes muchos años.
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Sophie Amundsen was on her way home from school.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

When 14-year-old Sophie encounters a mysterious mentor who introduces her to philosophy, mysteries deepen in her own life. Why does she keep getting postcards addressed to another girl? Who is the other girl? And who, for that matter, is Sophie herself? To solve the riddle, she uses her new knowledge of philosophy, but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined. A phenomenal worldwide bestseller, SOPHIE'S WORLD sets out to draw teenagers into the world of Socrates, Descartes, Spinoza, Hegel and all the great philosophers. A brilliantly original and fascinating story with many twists and turns, it raises profound questions about the meaning of life and the origin of the universe.

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Book description
One day Sophie comes home from school and finds two questions in her mailbox: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? This is the start of Sophie's adventures in philosophy, led by a mysterious mentor who will not reveal his identity as the progress from the Ancient Greeks through Descartes to Hegel, Marx and Freud. But this is not the only mystery in Sophie's world. Why does she keep receiving postcards addressed to someone called Hilde? To solve the riddle, Sophie applies her new knowledge of philosophy to find a truth far stranger than she could ever imagine.

Available online at The Internet Archive:
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