In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Martin Heidegger: Middle Works

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Literature
  • Journals and Book Series
  • Reference Works
  • General Studies and Research Anthologies
  • Literature Dedicated to Specific Works

Philosophy Martin Heidegger: Middle Works
Tobias Keiling
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 November 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0425


Martin Heidegger (b. 1889–d. 1976) is a central figure in 20th-century philosophy. Especially in his early works, most notably Being and Time (1927), Heidegger critically continues the tradition of phenomenology inaugurated by Edmund Husserl (b. 1859–d. 1938). Heidegger’s philosophy has been a major influence on a number of important philosophers in their own right, including Hans-Georg Gadamer (b. 1900–d. 2002), Maurice Merleau-Ponty (b. 1908–d. 1961), Hannah Arendt (b. 1906–d. 1975), Paul Ricoeur (b. 1913–d. 2005), Michel Foucault (b. 1926–d. 1984), Jacques Derrida (b. 1930–d. 2004), and Richard Rorty (b. 1931–d. 2007). His work has also impacted other disciplines, such as theology, literary and cultural studies, art theory, and the theory of architecture. Heidegger is primarily known for his work in metaphysics and existential philosophy, but he has also made much-discussed contributions to a wide range of philosophical topics, including the study of numerous authors from the history of philosophy. The German edition of his collected works (Gesamtausgabe, or GA) includes published writings, lecture courses, seminars, and manuscripts. Once completed, it will include 102 volumes. To manage this rich material, Heidegger’s philosophy is often divided into different periods. Although how to demarcate these periods is itself a matter of scholarly debate, Oxford Bibliographies divides his work into an early, middle, and later period. This entry treats the middle period of his thought (roughly 1933–1945). It coincides with the rise to power of the German National Socialist Party, in which Heidegger was involved as rector of the University of Freiburg, the Second World War, and the Holocaust. Although Heidegger rarely addresses these events directly, this period in particular should not be considered without taking into account these events and the dominant ideologies of the time. Heidegger’s major concerns during this period are with the experience of art, the philosophy of history, and the history of Western philosophy in particular. Heidegger gives a few important lectures and lecture series during this time that were later edited. These should be the starting point for any reading. The major body of his writing during this period, however, consists of manuscripts, notes, and course materials, which are more difficult to assess. In using this bibliography, be sure to also check the entries on the early and later period of Heidegger’s works. Although the focus of Heidegger’s philosophical concern shifts, many themes continue to be relevant throughout his works. Often, scholars writing on Heidegger take into account his development as whole, and relevant literature may be treated in another entry. This bibliography aims to be inclusive with regard to schools of thought and interpretations of Heidegger. It is not exhaustive but rather an attempt to identify useful starting points for individual study within the more recent literature on Heidegger.

Introductory Literature

There are a number of good introductions available, each written from a somewhat different angle. Inwood 1997 is the most concise introduction to Heidegger generally, but with little material on the middle period. Pattison 2000 covers Heidegger’s works from the 1930s to the end of his life. Polt 1999 is organized by key texts and particularly helpful when beginning to read Heidegger. Clark 2002 concentrates on aesthetics and literary theory. Richardson 2012 and Watts 2011 focus on concerns in the philosophy of religion.

  • Clark, Timothy. Martin Heidegger. London: Routledge, 2002.

    Particularly accessible but restricted to questions relating to literature and criticism. Discussion focuses on “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger’s philosophy of language, and interpretations of Hölderlin. Includes an account of Heidegger’s influence in literary theory and a short bibliography on Heidegger’s poetics.

  • Inwood, Michael. Heidegger. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

    Engaging survey of central ideas. From the middle period, only “The Origin of the Work of Art” is discussed in more detail. Complements the dictionary Inwood 1999 (cited under Reference Works).

  • Pattison, George. Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to the Later Heidegger. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.

    Good overview of central ideas from the middle and later periods. Helpful discussion of the relation between Heidegger’s earlier and later works in chapter 1.

  • Polt, Richard. Heidegger: An Introduction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.

    Introduction that both motivates the philosophical questions driving the development of Heidegger’s works and interprets key passages. Chapters are organized around different sections of Being and Time and later key texts such that they can be consulted when studying a certain work. The reading guides to Introduction to Metaphysics and Contributions to Philosophy are particularly helpful. Includes a brief commented bibliography.

  • Richardson, John. Heidegger. New York: Routledge, 2012.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203127100

    Accessible and engaging discussion of the central themes and main stages in Heidegger’s philosophical development. About half of the book is dedicated to the middle and later works. Argues that the continuous concern of Heidegger’s thought is with a form of religious or mystical experience. Albeit rooted in Heidegger’s personal history and present from the earliest writings on, this concern becomes more and more explicit in the middle and later works.

  • Watts, Michael. The Philosophy of Heidegger. Durham, UK: Acumen, 2011.

    Engaging introduction to Heidegger’s life and the central themes of his work, often referring to secondary literature. About the second half is dedicated to the themes from the middle and later periods, leading up to a discussion of the kinship between Heidegger and Taoist and Zen philosophy. Includes a glossary with concise articles on central terms.

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