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Basel in the Age of Burckhardt

A Study in Unseasonable Ideas

This remarkable history tells the story of the independent city-republic of Basel in the nineteenth century, and of four major thinkers who shaped its intellectual history: the historian Jacob Burckhardt, the philologist and anthropologist Johann Jacob Bachofen, the theologian Franz Overbeck, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

"Remarkable and exceptionally readable . . . There is wit, wisdom and an immense erudition on every page."—Jonathan Steinberg, Times Literary Supplement

"Gossman’s book, a product of many years of active contemplation, is a tour de force. It is at once an intellectual history, a cultural history of Basel and Europe, and an important contribution to the study of nineteenth-century historiography. Written with a grace and elegance that many aspire to, few seldom achieve, this is model scholarship."—John R. Hinde, American Historical Review

622 pages | 4 color plates, 31 halftones, 1 map | 6-1/16 x 9-1/4 | © 2000

History: European History, History of Ideas

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Part I. Nineteenth-Century Basel
1. From "A Community of Citizens" to "A Conglomeration of Individuals"
2. "A Kind of Family Government": The Ribbon Lords and Their World
3. "City of Miracles": Culture, Religion, and Money
4. "To Reconcile the Progressive Tendencies of the Time with Resistance to Them": Neohumanist Ideals and Modern Reality
5. "An Archimedean Point Outside Events": Anachronism and Modernity—Parochialism and Cosmopolitanism
Interlude: Portrait of a City from Romain Rolland’s Jean-Christophe
Part II. Johann Jacob Bachofen
6. "An Exile in My Own Homeland": Withdrawal and Renunciation
7. "Far from One’s Father’s House": A Prepatriarchal Order
8. "At Its Greatest in Its Graves": The Dark Side of Antiquity
9. "Spinning and Weaving": The Forming of Matter
Part III. Jacob Burckhardt
10. "A Man Who Held Out amid the Collapse of Everything": Serene Resistance
11. "From Now On My Courses Will Emphasize Only Cultural History": The Age of Constantine the Great and The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
12. "Not Narrative but Historical": The Cultural History of Greece
13. "A Second Creation": The History of Art
Part IV. "The Sulking Corner of Europe"
14. Friedrich Nietzsche and Franz Overbeck
15. Burckhardt and Ranke: Basel and Berlin


American Historical Association: George Mosse Prize

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