The idiosyncratic life and bleak philosophical outlook of Arthur Schopenhauer has long been a source of fascination for me. I first encountered him when researching his influence on the work of Samuel Beckett (and Ludwig Wittgenstein). In a recent article for the Times Literary Supplement, Julian Young acknowledges Schopenhauer’s profound influence on writers of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century; Young defines it as an influence “greater than that of any other philosopher”, which can be traced through the work of “Tolstoy, Turgenev, Zola, Maupassant, Proust, Hardy, Conrad, Mann, Joyce and Beckett”. (more…)