The Tragedy of European Civilization : Towards an Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century book cover
1st Edition

The Tragedy of European Civilization
Towards an Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century

ISBN 9780367737658
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
282 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

The tragedy of European civilization is a protracted historical event spanning the twentieth century and in many ways is ongoing. During this time some of the greatest modern thinkers were active, producing works that both reflected what was happening in history and contributed towards shaping it. This work is a critique of their ideas. Harry Redner establishes where and how they went wrong, in some cases with apocalyptic consequences for Europe and the world.

The great intellectuals of the age, at once philosophers, sociologists, political theorists, historians and much else besides, include Marx, Weber, Freud, Elias, Spengler, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Arendt, Nietzsche, and Foucault. All of them had a historical impact, even if only in molding academic disciplines and shaping of public opinion, as was the case with the philosophers Wittgenstein and Arendt.

This book explores the close links between anti-Semitism and cultural pessimism and the relation between psychology and sociology. Other themes range from the history and theory of the state, to the misconception of language and power. Suitable for students of sociology, philosophy, political theory, history, and cultural studies, this brilliant exploration of our civilization and its tragedies will also be of interest to intellectual general readers.

Table of Contents



Part I: Masters of Social Science

Introduction to Part I

1 Marx: The Romance of Revolution
Section I—History as Drama
Section II—Political Representation
Section III—Enter Weber
Section IV—Representation of Representation

2 Weber: The State, Science, and the University
Section I—Anticipations of Totalitarianism
Section II—History and Theory of the State
Section III—Science and Technology

3 Freud and Elias: The Civilizing Process
Section I—Freud's Discontents with Civilization
Section II—Elias' Manners
Section III—Elias' State

Part II: Untergangsters of History and Philosophy

Introduction to Part II 103

4 Spengler: Cultural Pessimism and Anti-Semitism
Section I—Kultur and Zivilization
Section II—The Invention of the Magian
Section III—Caesar ex Machina

5 Heidegger and Wittgenstein: Two Philosophers at Odds and Evens
Section I—Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Spengler
Section II—Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Anti-Semitism
Section III—Wittgenstein on Language and Mind
Section IV—Wittgenstein on Mathematics
Section V—Heidegger's Seinsgeschichte

6 Hannah Arendt: The Politics of Metaphysical Despair
Section I—Arendt and Heidegger
Section II—Arendt on Totalitarianism

Part III: Critics of Culture, Society, and Science

Introduction to Part III

7 Nietzsche: The Prophet of Nihilism
Section I—Eschatology of History
Section II—The Will to Power
Section III—Truth, Knowledge, and Reason as Power

8 Foucault: Death and Resurrection of the Subject
Section I—Foucault and Nietzsche
Section II—Foucault and the Death of Man



View More



Harry Redner


"If one puts this book in the context of the full four-volume study, it amounts to an extraordinary achievement, involving years of reading and reflection and covering an enormous amount of ground." - Professor Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia, USA