Despite the author's self-imposed intellectual and social isolation, Spengler's work was as Hughes demonstrates, a part of the enormous effort of intellectual reevaluation that has characterized the early twentieth century. Viewing Spengler in the broadest possible perspective, the author places his thought in its cultural relationship to that of such predecessors as Giambattista Vico, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Nikolai Danilevsky and contemporaries including Benedetto Croce, Henri Bergson, and Vilfredo Pareto. A chapter of Hughes's book is devoted to Spengler's influence on later cyclical thinkers such as Arnold Toynbee and Pitirim Sorokin. Another chapter clarifies the essentially antagonistic relationship between his thought and Nazi ideology.
Throughout, Hughes is carefully attuned to the complex and often bewildering shifts of Spengler's ideas and manner, providing a unified picture of the sober historian; the lofty seer; the cool, detached observer; and the impassioned participant. In his introduction to this new edition, Hughes comments on the timeliness of Spengler's message with respect to technology and environmental issues and draws some unexpected and fascinating parallels between Spengler's thought and that of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Oswald Spengler offers an illuminating view of the achievements and limitations of one of the most influential and representative figures of the twentieth century. It will be of concern to intellectual historians, philosophers, political scientists, and sociologists.
Friedrich Engels is one of the most intriguing and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family, he spent his life enjoying the comfortable existence of a Victorian gentleman; yet he was at the same time the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless political tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so that Karl Marx could have the freedom to write. Although his contributions are frequently overlooked, Engels's grasp of global capital provided an indispensable foundation for communist doctrine, and his account of the Industrial Revolution, The Condition of the Working Class in England, remains one of the most haunting and brutal indictments of capitalism's human cost.
Drawing on a wealth of letters and archives, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt plumbs Engels's intellectual legacy and shows us how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his exuberant personal life with his radical political philosophy. This epic story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.
We think of Voltaire as the archetypal figure of the enlightenment; in his own time he was also the most famous and controversial figure in Europe. This dazzling new biography celebrates his extraordinary life.
Davidson tells the whole, rich story of Voltaire’s life (1694-1778): his early imprisonment in the Bastille; exile in England and his mastery of English; an obsession with money, of which he made a huge amount; a scandalous love life; a long exile on the borders of Switzerland; his human-rights campaigns and his triumphant return to Paris to die there as celebrity extraordinaire. Throughout all of this, Voltaire’s life was always informed by two things: a belief in the essential value of toleration in the face of fanaticism; and in the right of every man to think and say what he liked.
It is rare to have such a vivid portrait of a great man.
Despite the influence of his previous writings on key Nazi figures, his criticisms of National Socialism led to the book being banned, although not before it had been widely distributed throughout Germany.
This work will be of interest to students of 20th century German and European history.