Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226061689 Published December 2013
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226061719 Published December 2013

Dreamland of Humanists

Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School

Emily J. Levine

Emily J. Levine

464 pages | 12 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $45.00 ISBN: 9780226061689 Published December 2013
E-book $7.00 to $36.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226061719 Published December 2013
Deemed by Heinrich Heine a city of merchants where poets go to die, Hamburg was an improbable setting for a major intellectual movement. Yet it was there, at the end of World War I, at a new university in this commercial center, that a trio of twentieth-century pioneers in the humanities emerged. Working side by side, Aby Warburg, Ernst Cassirer, and Erwin Panofsky developed new avenues in art history, cultural history, and philosophy, changing the course of cultural and intellectual history in Weimar Germany and throughout the world.

In Dreamland of Humanists, Emily J. Levine considers not just these men, but the historical significance of the time and place where their ideas took form. Shedding light on the origins of their work on the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, Levine clarifies the social, political, and economic pressures faced by German-Jewish scholars on the periphery of Germany’s intellectual world. By examining the role that context plays in our analysis of ideas, Levine confirms that great ideas—like great intellectuals—must come from somewhere.
 
Steven E. Aschheim, author of Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad
 “Insightful, interesting, and sophisticated, Dreamland of Humanists not only contributes to our individual and collective knowledge of the Warburg school but it sheds new light on the intellectual and political struggles and ultimately tragic fate of Weimar culture as a whole. I would go so far as to state that this is a work that I have been waiting for.”
Peter E. Gordon | author of Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos
Dreamland of Humanists is a deeply researched, well-structured, and elegantly written work of history that brings to life the city of Hamburg, a place that, thanks to its unique Hanseatic economic and political traditions, served as a welcome home for the Warburg Library and the three German Jewish intellectuals most closely associated with its name. Levine should be commended.”
Warren Breckman, author of Adventures of the Symbolic: Postmarxism and Radical Democracy
“From its inception in the early 1900s to its relocation to London in 1933, the Warburg Library in Hamburg was a symbol of holistic cultural study and humanistic learning, while the men most closely associated with the Library—Aby Warburg, Erwin Panofsky, and Ernst Cassirer—were vital to the symbolic turn that marked so much of twentieth-century thought. Emily Levine skillfully weaves together three men, a library, and a city in this compelling study of a crucial moment in modern intellectual history. She significantly enhances our understanding of the ideas and the shared urban and institutional context of these pivotal thinkers, while recasting Weimar culture in light of a shifting focus from the capital to Germany’s ‘second’ city.”
Key Reporter
"A thoughtful and massively researched book. . .  . One learns a lot and is left with a lot to ponder."
New Republic
"In arguing for the importance of place and social setting in the formation of ideas, Levine crosses as many scholarly disciplines as Aby Warbug's Library of the Science of Culture did in its heyday. . . . Levine shows how crucially time, place, and people can affect what we finally study and ponder; but in the end, if we are lucky, we all make our own Dreamland of Humanists with the materials at hand."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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