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Bidding Information
Lot #    16958
Auction End Date    1/23/2007 11:38:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Moderne Geister; literarische Bildnisse aus dem
Title (Hebrew)    neunzehnten Jahrhundert
Author    Georg Brandes
City    Frankfort am Main
Publisher    Ruetten & Loening
Publication Date    1887
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Second enlarged edition. V, [1], 465, [1] pp., 219:140 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in the original cloth boards, rubbed.
   Georg Brandes (Morris Cohen; 18421927), Danish literary critic and writer. Brandes was born into an assimilated family which had retained some nominal ties with the Copenhagen Jewish community. As a student of philosophy, he was at one stage strongly attracted to Stren Kierkegaard's Christianity. Turning more and more to literature, Brandes abandoned the idealist philosophy of his time, mainly during a stay in Paris (186667), where he was especially influenced by Taine. In 1870 he received his doctorate for a thesis on Taine's aesthetics and at about this time he also became Denmark's leading advocate of the new positivism. A series of public lectures which Brandes delivered in 1871 appeared as Hovedstrtmninger i det 19de Aarhundredes Litteratur (6 vols., 187290; Main Currents in 79th Century Literature, 190105) and was notable for its new and unorthodox approach. In this work he formulated his opposition to romanticism, and demanded that literature should stimulate the discussion of modern problems. Nevertheless, Brandes' essays on the Scandinavian romantics are among his best works.

Georg Brandes was one of Denmark's greatest writers and his enormous influence on Danish culture and on European literature is still apparent. He was also one of the outstanding representatives of the greatness and tragedy of the assimilated European Jew. It is significant that the Jewish figures whom he tried to understand and describe were Heine, Boerne, Disraeli, and Lassalle. Although Brandes created a new type of literary critic and was familiar with all the different national literary and political manifestations in Europe, he himself was never really at home anywhere and his relationship with Denmark was ambivalent. He was never really accepted by the Danes and his ideas still provoke either enthusiasm or disgust. Brandes denounced the progroms in Eastern Europe, but repudiated his own Jewishness and disliked "Jewish" characteristics in others. He defended Dreyfus, but did not take Herzl's Jewish State or the Zionist movement very seriously, much to Herzl's dismay. After the Balfour Declaration, Brandes recognized the reality of Zionism. He expressed this change of view in an article entitled "Das neue Judentum" (1918), which later appeared in a biographical study by Henri Nathansen. Here, an intimate friend described the critic's struggle with his Jewish identity.

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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
History:    Checked
Other:    Literature
Language:    German
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica