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  • Published: 18 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241352175
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

Time of the Magicians

The Great Decade of Philosophy, 1919-1929




'Weaves together the biographies and the developing thought of the four philosophers with great bravura and wit' (Sunday Telegraph)

The year is 1919. Walter Benjamin flees his overbearing father to scrape a living as a critic. Ludwig Wittgenstein signs away his inheritance, seeking spiritual clarity. Martin Heidegger renounces his faith and align his fortunes with Husserl's phenomenological school. Ernst Cassirer sketches a new schema of human culture on a cramped Berlin tram. The stage is set for a great intellectual drama. Over the next decade, the lives and thought of this quartet will converge and intertwine as each gains world-historical significance, between them remaking philosophy.

Time of the Magicians brings to life this unparalleled burst of intellectual creativity and with it an entire era, from post-war exuberance to economic crisis and the emergence of National Socialism. It becomes an intellectual adventure story, a captivating journey through the greatest revolution in Western thought told through its four protagonists, each with their own penetrating gaze and answer to the question which has animated philosophy from the very beginning: What are we?

  • Published: 18 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780241352175
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

Praise for Time of the Magicians

Splendid, highly entertaining, attentive

Jonathan Derbyshire, Financial Times

Magnificent, elegantly composed and beautifully narrated

David Motadel, The Times Literary Supplement

A tremendous feat of scholarship but also a technical masterpiece, knitting together the four men's love lives, money troubles, ontological anxieties and the wider ferment of the Weimar republic with uncommon dexterity

Oliver Moody, The Times

Accessible and deeply human ... He draws these four intellectual magi out of the shadows of their writings

John Kaag, The New York Times

Like any great story, Eilenberger's is not made up, but retrieved. Events have a way of narrating themselves when they encounter a gifted storyteller

Costica Bradatan, Los Angeles Review of Books

Eilenberger's survey of high thoughts and low politics among German-language philosophers of the 1920s is a salutary tale for today, not just a gripping panorama of century-old dreams and feuds

Economist

A book of riches - full of stories as well as ideas, all brought together with a fine light touch

Sarah Bakewell

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