Mikel Dufrenne

Mikel Dufrenne (9 February 1910, in Clermont, Oise – 10 June 1995, in Paris) was a French philosopher and aesthetician. He is known as an author of existentialism and is particularly noted for the work The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience (1953, in French as Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique).

He encountered the work of Karl Jaspers while being a prisoner of war in a camp with Paul Ricœur. Dufrenne and Ricœur later collaborated on a book on Jaspers.


  • Karl Jaspers et la philosophie de l'existence, 1947
  • Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique, 1953; Eng. tr., The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience (1973)
  • La personnalité de base, 1953
  • La Notion d'a priori, 1959; Engl. tr., The Notion of the A Priori (1966)
  • Jalons, 1966
  • La philosophie du néopositivisme, 1967
  • Pour l'homme, 1968
  • (with Paul Ricœur) Karl Jaspers et la philosophie de l'existence (1974)
  • Esthétique et philosophie (two volumes, 1976)

Further readingEdit

  • Robert Magliola, "Part II, Chapter 3: Mikel Dufrenne," Phenomenology and Literature (Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1977; 1978), pp. 142–173 (this influential work explained for the English-language academic world the role of Dufrenne in the formulation of "phenomenological literary theory and criticism"; it also supplied, for hermeneutical philosophy, a chapter-by-chapter description and critique of Dufrenne's monumental Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique). [See W. Wolfgang Holdheim's review of Phenomenology and Literature in Diacritics, Vol. 9, No. 2 (spring 1979) via JSTOR, here https://www.jstor.org/pss/464782].
  • Jean-Baptiste Dussert and Adnen Jdey (ed.), Mikel Dufrenne et l'esthétique: entre phénoménologie et philosophie de la Nature, Rennes (France), Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016 (this book is the first collection of essays devoted to all the aspects of Dufrennes's aesthetic).