Weimar Thought

Weimar Thought : A Contested Legacy

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During its short lifespan, the Weimar Republic (1918-33) witnessed an unprecedented flowering of achievements in many areas, including psychology, political theory, physics, philosophy, literary and cultural criticism, and the arts. Leading intellectuals, scholars, and critics--such as Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, and Martin Heidegger--emerged during this time to become the foremost thinkers of the twentieth century. Even today, the Weimar era remains a vital resource for new intellectual movements. In this incomparable collection, Weimar Thought presents both the specialist and the general reader a comprehensive guide and unified portrait of the most important innovators, themes, and trends of this fascinating period. The book is divided into four thematic sections: law, politics, and society; philosophy, theology, and science; aesthetics, literature, and film; and general cultural and social themes of the Weimar period.
The volume brings together established and emerging scholars from a remarkable array of fields, and each individual essay serves as an overview for a particular discipline while offering distinctive critical engagement with relevant problems and debates. Whether used as an introductory companion or advanced scholarly resource, Weimar Thought provides insight into the rich developments behind the intellectual foundations of modernity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 38.1mm | 794g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 069113510X
  • 9780691135106
  • 773,371

Back cover copy

"This is the first work in a generation that presents a comprehensive overview of Weimar culture with all its complexity and contradictions. It successfully shows continuities and discontinuities with the past, and tensions that resist reduction. The book's reach--from theology to the biological sciences, and literary criticism to legal theory--goes far beyond any other volume I am aware of on the same subject."--Peter Carl Caldwell, Rice University

"In the annals of cultural history, the Weimar Republic was an ideational crucible that bears comparison only with classical Athens and Renaissance Florence. In many respects, as a site of modernity, its achievements remain unsurpassed. Weimar Thought revisits this legacy in ways that are fresh, rich, thought provoking, and subtle. It is destined to become the standard work on the Weimar experience for years to come."--Richard Wolin, author of Heidegger's Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuse

"This collection provides readers with a clear introduction to the riches of intellectual life in Weimar Germany and contextualizes many of the trends and innovations that took place there. Essential for anyone interested in the philosophical, theological, historical, political, legal, aesthetic, and scientific movements of Weimar Germany, this book will have a wide audience."--Leora Batnitzky, Princeton University

"The years of the short-lived Weimar Republic witnessed a remarkable burgeoning of intellectual and cultural activity. Incorporating recent theoretical and methodological currents, and more recent advances in empirical scholarship, this timely volume brings together outstanding scholars of the field and synthesizes this crucial moment in modern culture."--Warren Breckman, University of Pennsylvania
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Table of contents

Introduction: Weimar Thought: Continuity and Crisis 1 Peter E. Gordon and John P. McCormick Part I: Law, Politics, Society 1 Weimar Sociology 15 David Kettler and Colin Loader 2 Weimar Psychology: Holistic Visions and Trained Intuition 35 Mitchell G. Ash 3 Legal Theory and the Weimar Crisis of Law and Social Change 55 John P. McCormick 4 The Legacy of Max Weber in Weimar Political and Social Theory 73 Dana Villa Part II: Philosophy, Theology, Science 5 Kulturphilosophie in Weimar Modernism 101 John Michael Krois 6 Weimar Philosophy and the Fate of Neo-Kantianism 115 Frederick Beiser 7 Weimar Philosophy and the Crisis of Historical Thinking 133 Charles Bambach 8 Weimar Theology: From Historicism to Crisis 150 Peter E. Gordon 9 Method, Moment, and Crisis in Weimar Science 179 Cathryn Carson Part III: Aesthetics, Literature, Film 10 Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer, and Weimar Criticism 203 Michael Jennings 11 Writers and Politics in the Weimar Republic 220 Karin Gunnemann 12 Aesthetic Fundamentalism in Weimar Poetry: Stefan George and his Circle, 1918-1933 240 Martin A. Ruehl 13 Weimar Film Theory 273 Sabine Hake 14 The Politics of Art and Architecture at the Bauhaus, 1919-1933 291 John V. Maciuika 15 Aby Warburg and the Secularization of the Image 316 Michael P. Steinberg Part IV: Themes of an Epoch 16 Eastern Wisdom in an Era of Western Despair: Orientalism in 1920s Central Europe 341 Susanne Marchand 17 Weimar Femininity: Within and Beyond the Law 361 Tracie Matysik 18 The Weimar Left: Theory and Practice 377 Martin Jay 19 The Aftermath: Reflections on the Culture and Ideology of National Socialism 394 Anson Rabinbach Weimar Thought: A Chronology 407 Contributors 417 Index 423
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Review quote

"By seeking understanding and refraining from evaluative synthesis, every contribution in this volume prompts the reader to reflect on lessons of Weimar in light of the present social, political, and cultural situation. Its innovative methodological outlook and its numerous field-specific interventions make Weimar Thought an indispensible resource for any future studies of the epoch."--Dennis Johanssen, German Quarterly "This sophisticated compendium of 19 essays by leading scholars in history, cultural studies, political science, and philosophy attempts to address the complexity, importance, and legacy of one of the 20th century's most important eras of intellectual activity... [T]hese intellectual histories are not very connected to context, providing instead effective overviews and suggesting some new ways to consider intellectual giants of the 20th century. That feat is impressive and valuable."--Choice
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About Peter E. Gordon

Peter E. Gordon is the Amabel B. James Professor of History at Harvard University. His books include Continental Divide and Rosenzweig and Heidegger. John P. McCormick is professor of political science at the University of Chicago. His books include Machiavellian Democracy and Weber, Habermas, and Transformations of the European State.
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