Cover: Reformers, Critics, and the Paths of German Modernity: Anti-Politics and the Search for Alternatives, 1890-1914, from Harvard University PressCover: Reformers, Critics, and the Paths of German Modernity in E-DITION

Reformers, Critics, and the Paths of German Modernity

Anti-Politics and the Search for Alternatives, 1890-1914

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674418356

Publication Date: 06/27/2000

358 pages

8 tables


Available from De Gruyter »

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A reexamination of Wilhelmine political culture and social thought…in a textured and nuanced discussion… Moving away from previous historians’ emphasis on illiberalism and antimodernism, Repp seeks to locate cultural and social criticism among intellectuals who wished to integrate workers and women and otherwise enlarge the restricted notion of what constituted the national and the German.—M. Deshmukh, Choice

Kevin Repp’s richly textured account of the reformist milieu in Wilhelmine Germany is welcome for several reasons. This is the best collective portrait we have of the middle-class activists who came of age in the 1890s. It is also a valuable contribution to historical debates about modernity in prewar Germany and the figure of the ‘unpolitical German.’—David G. Blackbourn, Harvard University

This is an extremely interesting and valuable book, one of great intelligence, well attuned to the state of discussion among German historians of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a strong grasp of the theoretical and comparative dimensions of Germany’s socio-economic, cultural-intellectual, and political development, and a solid combination of contexts for exploring the chosen question of modernity and its varying trajectories. The view of Wilhelmine politics presented here is thoroughly persuasive. The text is beautifully put together, the organization of the argument is clear, and it is excellently well-written.—Geoff Eley, University of Michigan

Kevin Repp’s carefully-researched and powerfully-argued book is an important contribution to the scholarly reassessment of German politics and culture at the beginning of the twentieth century. Repp focuses on three neglected social critics—Adolf Damaschke, Gertrud Bäumer, and Werner Sombart—and on the institutional milieu that sustained and amplified their ideas. The range and richness of Repp’s book invites comparison with Fritz Stern’s classic, The Politics of Cultural Despair, whose interpretation of German modernity he both extends and challenges. This is a stunning scholarly debut.—James J. Sheehan, Stanford University

Repp shows quite convincingly that in the pre-1914 era, the use of such sensitive concepts in German history as nationalism, social Darwinism, and racial and eugenic notions did not make one a proto-fascist. While the Nazi regime was certainly one possible outcome of these intellectual trends, it was not the only one, and other possibilities were far more benign.—Jonathan Sperber, University of Missouri

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