Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?

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9780860913955: Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?
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History, be it Fukuyama's liberal democracy or Baudrillard's hyperreality, according to a number of pundits, has reached the end of the line. Yet these heated debates are themselves profoundly ahistorical, for the conception of posthistoire, "the end of history", has been a recurrent theme since the late 19th century. Lutz Niethammer, Germany's leading radical historian, here uncovers this intellectual history of disillusion and resignation. Tracing the idea of history's end back to Nietzsche and Spengler, he examines its manifestations in the views of writers in France and Germany, particularly during the interwar years. Many were thinkers of the Right; Ernst Junger, Jacques Doriot and Arnold Gehlen. Others, above all Alexandre Kojeve, belonged to the Left. But whether they pinned their hopes on the nation or the proletariat, they shared a common response to the "failure" of the masses to fulfil a prescribed role. They all conflated the apparent collapse of a particular historical project with the collapse of history of itself. A central theme is the reaction of intellectual elites to the rise of mass culture and the crises of mass movements. Niethammer offers an alternative in the approach of Walter Benjamin, who, despite his critiques of technological mass civilization, refused to deny the fact that people make and transform history. For all those who stil refuse to believe that human history has ground to a standstill, Posthistoire should be interesting reading. Subject is currently at the centre of political and intellectual debate, provoked by publication of Fukuyama's "The End of History and the Last Man". Will appeal to the large general and academic audience built up by Fukuyama's book. This book is the first comprehensive left critique of the "end of history". Will be read by the political left, and be required reading of apologists of the concept of any political hue.

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Review:

.".. a fascinating, provocative and timely piece of intellectual history."--Malcolm Bull, "London Review of Books""Niethammer's book ... tells a much more interesting story than Fukuyama's and deserves to have a more lasting impact."--Stephen Howe, "New Statesman and Society."

About the Author:

A translator from Romanian, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, Patrick Camiller has translated many works, including Dumitru Tsepeneag's "Vain Art of the Fugue," "The Necessary Marriage," and "Hotel Europa."

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9780860916970: Posthistoire: Has History Come to an End?

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ISBN 10:  0860916979 ISBN 13:  9780860916970
Publisher: Verso Books, 1994
Softcover

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