Disinherited Mind: Essays in Modern German Literature and Thought

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9780156261005: Disinherited Mind: Essays in Modern German Literature and Thought

Heller examines the sense of values embodied in the works of key German writers and thinkers from Goethe to Kafka, particularly the consciousness of life's depreciation.

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About the Author:

Erich Heller (March 27, 1911 — November 5, 1990) was a British essayist, known particularly for his critical studies in German-language philosophy and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Heller was born at Chomutov (German: Komotau) in Bohemia (then within Austria-Hungary, now the Czech Republic), to the family of a Jewish physician. He graduated a doctor of law from the German University in Prague (Deutsche Universität in Prag, Juridische Fakultät) on February 11, 1935, at the age of 23. In 1939 he emigrated to the United Kingdom, where he began his professional career as a Germanist, being active at Cambridge and London (England) and at Swansea (Wales). Heller became a British subject in 1947. From 1960 onwards he was based in the United States, primarily at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he was initially Professor of German, and subsequently Avalon Professor of the Humanities until his retirement in 1979.

For Heller, German letters as an academic discipline was something of an avocation, a marriage of convenience to supply a vehicle for the conveyance of thought of a wider scope. He kept a certain distance from the scholarly community around him, believing (with Jacob Burckhardt) this community's pedantry and unremitting quest for precision to be ‘one of the most cunning enemies of truth’, their cumulative effect being ‘the absence of true comprehensi

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