Susanne Langer’s Philosophy in a New Key (1942) is the most famous book you’ve never heard of. It has had a remarkable career: a big seller on the mass paperback market of the post–World War II decades; a key text in musicology, aesthetics, religious studies, and anthropology; a founding work of Langer’s decades-long attempt to reinvent philosophy. And yet, precisely because the book possessed such remarkable crossover appeal for generations of nonspecialist readers, it has become a neglected Undead text. This article recovers its purpose and reception.

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