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Time of the Magicians

The Great Decade of Philosophy, 1919-1929

Wolfram Eilenberger



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Allen Lane
17 November 2020
A gripping narrative of the intertwined lives of the four philosophers whose ideas reshaped the twentieth century The year is 1919. Walter Benjamin flees his overbearing father to scrape a living as a jobbing critic. Ludwig Wittgenstein signs away his inheritance to teach schoolchildren in a provincial Austrian village, seeking spiritual clarity. Martin Heidegger renounces his faith and align his fortunes with the phenomenological school of Edmund Husserl. Ernst Cassirer sketches a new schema of human culture at the back of a cramped Berlin tram. The stage is set for a great intellectual drama, which will unfold over the next decade. The lives and thought of this quartet will converge and intertwine as each gains world historical significance, between them remaking philosophy.

Time of the Magicians tells the story of this revolution in Western thought through the remarkable and turbulent lives of its four protagonists, showing philosophy not gifted from on high but worked out in the mess of everyday life, and illuminating their ideas with rare clarity.
By:   Wolfram Eilenberger
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 39mm
Weight:   691g
ISBN:   9780241352168
ISBN 10:   0241352169
Pages:   432
Publication Date:   17 November 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Wolfram Eilenberger was for many years Editor-in-Chief of Philosophie Magazin. He has taught philosophy at the University of Toronto, Indiana University, the Berlin University of the Arts and ETH Zurich. His previous books include studies of the philosophies of Nostradamus and Mikhail Bakhtin and guides to the application of philosophy in everyday life. This book, his ninth, was a bestseller on publication in Germany, where it won the prestigious Bayerischer Buchpreis, and is being translated into more than twenty languages.

Reviews for Time of the Magicians: The Great Decade of Philosophy, 1919-1929

A tour de force. Eilenberger unfolds new paths for philosophy itself -- Susan Neiman Recalls an age when philosophers reinvented a world in full meltdown - one that needed to be remade down to its very punctuation - and turns famous names into all too human characters -- Benjamin Moser Fluently blending biography with intellectual history, Time of the Magicians reveals catastrophe as the mother of modern philosophy. It is hard to imagine a more bracing way to reflect on our own times -- Pankaj Mishra Packed with personal stories as well as erudition, this is a book that teaches us both how to live through a time of crisis, and how to think about it - skills we now need once again -- Anne Applebaum A fascinating tour through the lives and thought of some of the most challenging philosophers of the twentieth century: Benjamin, Cassirer, and those two matching gnomic magi, Wittgenstein and Heidegger. It is a book of riches - full of stories as well as ideas, all brought together with a fine light touch -- Sarah Bakewell

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