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Oswald Spengler and the Politics of Decline

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Oswald Spengler and the Politics of Decline

Ben Lewis

238 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-574-3 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2022)

eISBN 978-1-80073-575-0 eBook


View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Lewis is right to question the majority view that [Spengler] remained wedded to his deterministic fatalism. His Spengler embraces the dual role of observer and actor, intent on identifying the new emperor whose global exploits will sweep aside the ills of majority rule and socialism.” • Osman Durrani, Times Literary Supplement

“Lewis's biography illuminates both the subtle and the significant transformations within Spengler's thought…Recommended.” • Choice

Our lot as English speakers interested in the ideas of this Weimar philosopher has improved significantly with the publication of Ben Lewis’s Oswald Spengler and the Politics of Decline ... Just as Lewis has helped rescue [the work of] Karl Kautsky, he also brings to life a Spengler who has been overshadowed by his own (misunderstood) masterpiece.” • Matthew Miller, Cosmonaut Magazine

“The Spengler that emerges from Lewis’s closely argued and persuasive book is in equal parts a mystic, a self-publicist, a keen-eyed critic of liberal humbug, a romantic and a fool, who in helping to persuade millions of people to choose the paths of blood and iron, protected nothing of the past he was trying to save.” • Magazine - Lives; Running

“Oswald Spengler remains an enigmatic figure. Fiercely opposed to the biologistic racism that has dominated right wing thinking in the European-West, he was also a staunch ‘Caesarist’, agitating for dictatorial political institutions that could realise his hopes for a non-Marxist socialism. Lewis’s book is an outstanding contribution to understanding this, by turns, most compelling and disturbing of thinkers.” • Simon Glendinning, London School of Economics and Political Science.

“Revisiting Spengler’s political writings beyond the Decline of the West, Lewis recovers Spengler’s actual significance as a political thinker from the Weimar years to the Third Reich. The first study in English to address the complexity of his fraught relationship with both socialism and liberalism, it is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the evolving character of German political thought of this period in its original context.” • Dina Gusejnova, London School of Economics and Political Science


Oswald Spengler was one of the most important thinkers of the Weimar Republic. In Oswald Spengler and the Politics of Decline, Ben Lewis completely transforms our understanding of Spengler by showing how well-connected this philosopher was and how, at every stage of his career, he attempted to intervene politically in the very real-life events unfolding around him. The volume explains Spengler’s politics as the outcome of a dynamic interplay between his meta-historical considerations on world history on the one hand, and the practical demands and considerations of Realpolitik on the other hand.

Ben Lewis is a Leverhulme Early Career Researcher at the University of Leeds. He has taught German language, politics and history at King’s College London and the University of Sheffield. In total, he has edited and translated four volumes of texts by European socialist thinkers: Karl Kautsky on Democracy and Republicanism (2019); Clara Zetkin: Letters and Writings (2015; with Mike Jones); Karl Kautsky on Colonialism (2013; with Mike Macnair); and Zinoviev and Martov: Head to Head in Halle (2011; with Lars T. Lih).

Maiden Mother Matriarch Podcast with author Ben Lewis  

Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
Area: Germany


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