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|Title:||“I [SUFFER] UNFORTUNATELY FROM INTELLECTUAL HUNGER”: THE GEISTKREIS, DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE, AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF INTELLECTUAL LIFE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY|
|Authors:||Reiss Sorokin, Ohad|
|Contributors:||History of Science Department|
|Keywords:||Desire for Knowledge|
|Publisher:||Princeton, NJ : Princeton University|
|Abstract:||The dissertation examines the roles of the desire for knowledge and amateur intellectuals in thechanging landscape of intellectual life in the twentieth century. It centers on the Geistkreis, an interdisciplinary Kreis [intellectual circle] that convened between 1921 and 1938 in Vienna. The dissertation argues that the Geistkreis should be interpreted as a product of a desire for knowledge—a force that explains the humanistic disciplines' persistence and appeal. The first chapter tells the story of the Geistkreis in Vienna. It argues that the Geistkreis, for many different reasons, did not fit well with the model of the Kreis as it was practiced in interwar Vienna. The chapter analyzes the various features that made the Geistkreis unique. Chapters two, three, and four focus on the Geistkreis’s origin story and explore the relationship between the main protagonists and their teacher, Othmar Spann. These chapters present the Geistkreis as a response to the reigning tradition in the Germanophone intellectual world, the “mandarin” tradition. Chapter five follows the protagonists to the United States, where they found shelter after the annexation of Austria to Germany. This chapter shows how the different members used the Kreis as an idea and a model in their dealings with the American intellectual community. The Geistkreis, I argue, should be understood as a fantasy about intellectual life that does not conform with the overarching trends of professionalization and disciplinarization. These trends are central to the historical and sociological study of science and intellectual life. Therefore, new tools are required to analyze the Geistkreis and the social and cultural phenomenon it stands for. In the dissertation, in two excursuses, I am beginning to develop two of them: the perspective of the desire for knowledge and the analysis of origin stories. Not only the Geistkreis members were nostalgic about it. It moves everyone who is engaged with humanistic knowledge, who sees in its model the pure core of our practices and traditions. This dissertation explores the rise and fall of the form-of-life that made it possible.|
|Alternate format:||The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog: catalog.princeton.edu|
|Type of Material:||Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)|
|Appears in Collections:||History of Science|
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