Philosophical Library Proudly Publishes Nobel Prize Winners

(NEW YORK, NY — November 4, 2016) When Dagobert D. Runes founded Philosophical Library 75 years ago, his intention was to bring lasting works of thought to a broader readership than they might otherwise receive. Many of his choices were not available in English, so he had them translated; other were also either difficult to find or unavailable to the general public. Going well beyond this original mandate, since its founding, Philosophical Library has proudly published the work of more than twenty recipients of Nobel prizes, primarily those for Literature and Physics, but also including laureates in Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and the Nobel Peace Prize. Nearly three dozen of these titles remain in print, including books by Jean-Paul Sartre, who in fact declined the award for literature; Boris Pasternak, another Literature laureate published by Philosophical Library, had initially intended to accept his award, but was later “encouraged” by the Soviets to decline it. The citation for André Gide’s 1947 Nobel, which he did not decline, could not have explicitly mentioned what we now know was a salient aspect of his life and work. But perhaps the reference to his “fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight” alluded to Gide’s own frankness about his homosexuality.

Albert Einstein’s 1921 award for his work in Theoretical Physics was not for his theory of relativity (it was still too controversial and unproven at the time) but for building on the foundation of Max Planck’s quantum theory, for which Planck received the 1918 award. Of course we know that Einstein’s work continues to inspire physicists today. In fact, the actual proofs of his theories are only now coming to light. And half-a-dozen of Einstein’s books, having to do with his scientific and humanitarian concerns, are stalwarts of Philosophical Library’s list. Max Planck’s Scientific Autobiography and Other Essays was a bestseller when it was first published and continues to be noteworthy, for among other things, the great scientist’s engagement with the the ongoing conversation between science and religion.

Interestingly, both Planck and Einstein received their awards a year later than the official date cited. This most likely had nothing to do with the relativity of time.

Not all of the Nobel committee’s past choices are household names, certainly not on the level of Bob Dylan, the most recent literature laureate/ And not all of their works continue to enthrall the public. But Philosophical Library, always a small, independent, idiosyncratic publishing house, has proven that its choices have more often than not, passed the test of time.

Below is a list of Nobel laureates published by Philosophical Library. Titles no longer or not currently available are marked (OP).


Theodor Mommsen (1902) German

“the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A History of Rome

History of Rome (OP)

Maurice Maeterlinck (1911) Belgian

“in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy”

The Preservation of Youth (OP)

Rabindranath Tagore (1913) Bengali. The first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature

“for his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”

Sheaves, Tagore Testament (OP)

Romain Rolland (1915) French

“as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”

Journey Within (OP)

George Bernard Shaw (1925) British Accepted prize but rejected the money

“for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”

The Crime of Imprisonment (OP)

Henri Bergson (1927) French

“in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented”

The World of Dreams, The Philosophy of Poetry

Andre Gide (1947) French

“for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight”

Oscar Wilde: Reminiscences, The Notebooks of Andre Walther, The White Notebook, Notes on Chopin, Autumn Leaves

Bertrand Russell (1950) British

“in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”

The Art of Philosophizing, Dictionary of Mind, Matter and Morals, Essays in Skepticism, The Wisdom of Bertrand Russell

Francois Mauriac (1952) French

“for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life”

Saint Margaret of Cortona, Letters on Art and Literature, Proust’s Way

Boris L. Pasternak (1958) Russian Initially accepted, the forced by Soviet Union to decline it.

“for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition”

The Adolescence of Zhenya Luvers

Jean-Paul Sartre (1964) French Declined the prize

“for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age”

The Emotions, Essays in Aesthetics, The Philosophy of Existentialism, Essays in Existentialism, Literature and Existentialism



Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1937) Hungarian. Donated prize money to the Finnish resitance to Soviet invasion

“for his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion process with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid

The Crazy Ape



Irving Langmuir (1932)

Phenomena, Atoms and Molecules (OP)

“for his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry”



Albert Schweitzer (1952, awarded 1953)

“If altruism, reverence for life, and the idea of brotherhood can become living realities in the hearts of men, we will have laid the very foundations of a lasting peace between individuals, nations, and races.” – The Nobel Peace Prize 1952 – Presentation Speech”

The Essence of Faith, The Light Within Us, The Quest for the Historical Jesus, A Treasury of Albert Schweitzer, Reverence for Life, Pilgrimage to Humanity, The Wisdom of Albert Schweitzer



Marie Curie (1903) Received one-half of prize jointly with her husband, Pierre. Henri Becquerel received the other half of the prize.

“in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel”

Radioactive Substances (OP)

Max Planck (1918, awarded 1919)

“in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta”.

Scientific Autobiography

Albert Einstein (1921, awarded 1922)

“for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”

The World As I See It, Out of My Later Years, The Theory of Relativity, Letters to Solovine, Letters on Wave Mechanics, Essays in Science

Sir Chandrasekhara V. Raman (1930)

“for his work on the scattering of light and for the discovery of the effect named after him”

The New Physics (OP)

Werner Heisenberg (1932, awarded 1933)

“for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen”

Nuclear Physics

Percy Williams Bridgman (1946)

“for the invention of an apparatus to produce extremely high pressures, and for the discoveries he made therewith in the field of high pressure physics”

The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts (OP), Reflections of a Physicist (OP)


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