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Overview

Intellectual Currents Subject Overview

This section focusses on the historical, sociological, philosophical, economic, political, and scientific context of modernism. Entries cover individuals, coteries, movements, and events. The primary criterion…

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Frobenius, Leo (1873–1938)

Leo Viktor Frobenius, a German ethnologist and philosopher of culture with a particular interest in African cultures, was a central figure in the German discipline…

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Garvey, Marcus (1887 – 1940)

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr, was a Jamaican political leader and a prominent figure in promoting Pan-Africanism. His work as a public speaker, publisher and entrepreneur…

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Jaspers, Karl (1883−1969)

Karl Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and existential philosopher. After graduating from medical school in 1908, Jaspers took up a research position in a psychiatric…

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Lukács, György (1885–1971)

György Lukács was a Hungarian philosopher and literary critic. Born into a wealthy Jewish family, he spent his youth in Berlin and Vienna studying German…

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Niebuhr, Reinhold (1892–1971)

Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr was an influential pastor and theologian in America. His thought initially centered on liberal pacifism, but it later turned to the…

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November Revolution (German History)

Over the course of November 1918, Germany’s political system changed from a constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary republic. The November Revolution was a consequence of…

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Orage, A. R. (1873–1934)

Born in Dacre, Yorkshire, England, Alfred Richard Orage was a British intellectual and writer and the editor of The New Age magazine. The son of…

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Progressivism

Progressivism was a political and socioeconomic movement central to American national politics from the Gilded Age (1890s) to the end of the Roaring Twenties. At…

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Sandler, Irving (1925– )

Irving Harry Sandler, an American art historian, critic and administrator, was born in New York City and brought up and educated in Philadelphia. He received…

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Scholem, Gershom (1897–1982)

Gershom Scholem was born in Berlin to Arthur and Betty Hirsch Scholem. Though raised in an assimilated Jewish and German nationalist household, Gerhard Scholem grew…

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Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company is the legendary English-language lending library and bookstore in Paris, which was founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach (1887–1962). The shop opened…

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Sorel, Georges (1847–1922)

Georges Sorel was a French social thinker and political theorist. An engineer of modest bourgeois extraction, he was a state employee for twenty-five years. He…

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Spengler, Oswald (1880–1936)

Oswald Spengler was a prominent historian in the Weimar Republic (1918–1933). From 1908 to 1911, he worked as a high school teacher in Hamburg. Thereafter…

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Stephen, Leslie (1832–1904)

Leslie Stephen was an English author and editor who contributed significantly to the science-religion debate in the latter part of the Victorian period. Father of…

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Trotsky, Leon (1879–1940)

Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, is one of the most controversial figures in twentieth-century history. Along with Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), he played a decisive…

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Veblen, Thorstein (1857–1929)

Thorstein Veblen was an American economist, sociologist and social critic. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1884. After a six-year stint on his family’s…

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Volksgemeinschaft

The German term Volksgemeinschaft, normally translated as ‘national community’ or ‘people’s community’, expresses an ideal image of a harmonious and united society. The term draws…

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Walden, Herwarth (1878–1941)

Herwarth Walden was the force behind Der Sturm, an avant-garde journal, gallery, performance venue, bookstore and theater school in Berlin (1910–1932). Walden’s first wife, the…

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Weaver, Harriet Shaw (1876–1961)

Harriet Shaw Weaver was a political activist and magazine editor best remembered for her literary and financial support of the modernist writer James Joyce (1882–1941).…

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Weininger, Otto (1880–1903)

Otto Weininger was an Austrian philosopher and racial theorist. Born in Vienna to Jewish parents, he committed suicide five months after the publication of Sex…

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Blanchot, Maurice (1907–2003)

Maurice Blanchot was one of Europe’s most influential essayists, theorists and experimental fiction writers. Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida and Emmanuel…

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Durkheim, Émile (1858–1917)

David Émile Durkheim was a founding figure of sociology in France. His conceptual development of the “division of labour” (1893) remains key to a sociological…

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Einstein, Albert (1879–1955)

Born in Ulm, Württemberg (now Germany), Einstein was a theoretical physicist who initiated a scientific revolution with his theory of general relativity. Challenging classical mechanics…

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Fin de siècle

Referring to the end of the 19th century, Fin de siècle not only represents a specific historical moment but also a part of the sensibility…