Thinking with History: Explorations in the Passage to Modernism

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Schorske begins by reflecting on his own vocation as it was shaped by the historical changes he has seen sweep across political and academic culture. Then he offers a European sampler of ways in which 19th-century European intellectuals used conceptions of the past to address the problems of their day: the city as community and artifact; the function of art; social dislocation. Narrowing his focus to fin-de-siecle Vienna in a second group of essays, he analyzes the emergence of a historical modernism in that ...
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Overview

Schorske begins by reflecting on his own vocation as it was shaped by the historical changes he has seen sweep across political and academic culture. Then he offers a European sampler of ways in which 19th-century European intellectuals used conceptions of the past to address the problems of their day: the city as community and artifact; the function of art; social dislocation. Narrowing his focus to fin-de-siecle Vienna in a second group of essays, he analyzes the emergence of a historical modernism in that city. Against the background of Austria's persistent, conflicting Baroque and Enlightenment traditions, Schorske examines three Viennese pioneers of modernism - Adolf Loos, Gustav Mahler, and Sigmund Freud -- as they sought new orientation in their fields.
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Editorial Reviews

Douglas A. Sylva
...[E]xamines why he thinks we have abandoned history; why, in this modern world, we think without history.
The New York Times Book Review
Douglas A. Sylva
...[E]xamines why he thinks we have abandoned history; why, in this modern world, we think without history. -- The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen pieces by a first-rate scholar on diverse aspects of the intellectual and cultural history of western and central Europe, mainly from 1848 to 1914. Schorske, author of Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, and other works, has three foci: his own evolution as a historian and his impressively open response to the "new history" that has emerged during the past three decades; perceptions of, and design battles over, the modern city; and the early, formative years of modernist culture. Two of his most interesting pieces focus on the architectural shaping of the Ringstrasse, the grand boulevard that encircled the heart of post-1848 Vienna. Its magisterial buildings, Schorske says, largely reflected the values of both those loyal to Kaiser Franz Josef and those committed to a more liberal, though hardly fully democratic, state; both tendencies would be sharply criticized beginning around 1890 by such modernist intellectuals as the architect Adolf Loos and the journalist and playwright Karl Kraus. Only three of Schorske's essays focus on one or more individuals—the English writer and Utopian visionary William Morris, Wagner, Mahler, and Freud—but these are among the book's best. Concerning the latter, Schorske traces Freud's deep interest in the culture of ancient Egypt, as evidenced in his last major work, Moses and Monotheism, by first looking at the influence and mystique that three great western European cities (London, Paris, and Rome) played in Freud's thought. Schorske is a very gifted writer and scholar, usually clearly and succinctly distilling his study of a great deal of material from manydisciplines, avoiding historical and intellectual minutiae, and incorporating colorful anecdotes and quotes (for example, Baudelaire on the pleasure of "bathing himself in the [urban] crowd"). A pleasurable and stimulating read.
From the Publisher
"Schorske knows a great deal about Vienna, and the essays ... are original and penetrating, particularly those on Mahler and Freud."—Gordon Craig, New York Review of Books

"Clever analysis.... [A] subtle, important book."—Douglas A. Sylva, The New York Times Book Review

"Carl Schorske is ... a master; anyone acquainted with his classic Fin-de-Sicle Vienna will know that fact, and accordingly will relish the prospect of these ... essays. Together they are a brilliant feat of learning, gracefully served."—A. C. Grayling, Financial Times

"This new collection shows why Schorske, the eminent intellectual historian . . . is a master craftsman. . . . [W]e are fortunate to have Schorske as a guide. . . . By his amazingly erudite and finely chiseled portraits of the potentialities of nineteenth-century culture, he has prepared the way for us to assess how we think with history in our own day."—Jonathan Elukin, The American Scholar

"Schorske is a very gifted writer and scholar, usually clearly and succinctly distilling his study of a great deal of material from many disciplines, avoiding historical and intellectual minutiae, and incorporating colorful anecdotes and quotes. . . . A pleasurable and stimulating read."—Kirkus Reviews

"What has interested Schorske and will fascinate readers is the interaction between history and the supposedly rootless modernism. . . . These [essays]. . . show the astonishing breadth of Schorske's knowledge."—Publisher's Weekly

"[A] reflective and provocative book. . . ."—Alethea Hayter, The Spectator

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691029467
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Permissions and Credits
Acknowledgments
1 The Book: Theme and Content 3
2 The Author: Encountering History 17
Pt. 1 Clio Ascendant: Historicist Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Europe
3 The Idea of the City in European Thought: Voltaire to Spengler 37
4 History as Vocation in Burckhardt's Basel 56
5 Medieval Revival and Its Modern Content: Coleridge, Pugin, and Disraeli 71
6 The Quest for the Grail: Wagner and Morris 90
7 Museum in Contested Space: The Sword, the Scepter, and the Ring 105
Pt. 2 Clio Eclipsed: Toward Modernism in Vienna
8 Grace and the Word: Austria's Two Cultures and Their Modern Fate 125
9 Generational Tension and Cultural Change 141
10 From Public Scene to Private Space: Architecture as Culture Criticism 157
11 Gustav Mahler: Formation and Transformation 172
12 To the Egyptian Dig: Freud's Psycho-Archeology of Cultures 191
13 History and the Study of Culture 219
Index 233
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