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Oswald Spengler (1880 1936)

Related: pessimism - Germany

Biography

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (Blankenburg am Harz May 29, 1880 May 8, 1936, Munich) was a German historian and philosopher, although his studies ranged throughout mathematics, science, philosophy, history, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West in which he puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations. After Decline was published in 1918, Spengler produced his Prussianism and Socialism in 1920, in which he argued for an organic version of socialism and authoritarianism. He wrote extensively throughout World War I and the interwar period, and supported German hegemony in Europe. Spengler voted for the National Socialists in 1932 and hung a swastika flag outside his Munich home, and the National Socialists held Spengler as an intellectual precursor. But Spengler's pessimism about Germany and Europe's future, his refusal to support Nazi ideas of racial superiority, and his anti-Nazi work the Hour of Decision won him ostracism after 1933. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_Spengler [May 2006]

The Decline of the West (1918-1923) - Oswald Spengler

The Decline of the West (1918-1923) - Oswald Spengler [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
Since its first publication in two volumes between 1918-1923, The Decline of the West has ranked as one of the most widely read and most talked about books of our time. In all its various editions, it has sold nearly 100,000 copies. A twentieth-century Cassandra, Oswald Spengler thoroughly probed the origin and "fate" of our civilization, and the result can be (and has been) read as a prophesy of the Nazi regime. His challenging views have led to harsh criticism over the years, but the knowledge and eloquence that went into his sweeping study of Western culture have kept The Decline of the West alive. As the face of Germany and Europe as a whole continues to change each day, The Decline of the West cannot be ignored.

The abridgment, prepared by the German scholar Helmut Werner, with the blessing of the Spengler estate, consists of selections from the original (translated into English by Charles Francis Atkinson) linked by explanatory passages which have been put into English by Arthur Helps. H. Stuart Hughes has written a new introduction for this edition.

In this engrossing and highly controversial philosophy of history, Spengler describes how we have entered into a centuries-long "world-historical" phase comparable to late antiquity. Guided by the philosophies of Goethe and Nietzsche, he rejects linear progression, and instead presents a world view based on the cyclical rise and decline of civilizations. He argues that a culture blossoms from the soil of a definable landscape and dies when it has exhausted all of its possibilities.

Despite Spengler's reputation today as an extreme pessimist, The Decline of the West remains essential reading for anyone interested in the history of civilization. --via Amazon.com

The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. Spengler revised this volume in 1922 and published the second volume, subtitled Perspectives of World History, in 1923.

The book includes the idea of the Islamics being Magian, Greeks being Apollinian, and the Westerners being Faustian, and according to its theories we are now living in the winter time of the Faustian civilization. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West [Jun 2005]

Criticisms
In 1950, Theodor W. Adorno published an essay entitled "Spengler after the Downfall" (in German: Spengler nach dem Untergang) to commemorate what would have been Oswald Spengler's 70th birthday. Adorno reassessed Spengler's thesis three decades after it had been put forth, in light of the catastrophic collapse of Nazi Germany (although Spengler had not meant "Untergang" in a cataclysmic sense, this was how most authors after WWII interpreted it). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Decline_of_the_West#Criticisms [Jun 2005]

see also: civilization - culture - decline - West - pessimism

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