Studies of the Simon Dubnow Institute

Volume 23

Missratene Söhne

Anarchismus und Sprachkritik im Fin de Siècle

Fritz Mauthner, Gustav Landauer and Erich Mühsam, who all stemmed from a middle-class, German-Jewish family background, lived their own »self-designed« blueprints of resistance to bourgeois life worlds. These counter-models for living were aimed against the forms of modernity that had become manifest in the urban centers, against a world that their bourgeois fathers had helped to build. The sons raised being a renegade and revolutionary into a program: in Mauthner's critique of language, it was theoretical, in Landauer's anarchistic credo of a new »beginning« it mediated between theory and practice, and in the ideas of the anarchist Mühsam it operated via the lived practice of a Bohemian lifestyle.

Carolin Kosuch sheds new light on the generational bond linking together these three thinkers. On the basis of their writings and memoirs, she shows how Mauthner, Mühsam and Landauer fled, on the one hand, from a reality dominated by their fathers in a remote past, while on the other, she points up how much their consonance was rooted and constituted by their common aspiration to overcome the multiple alienations of modernity. This study on three sons from bourgeois families living in a period of transition from the era of rapid industrialization in Germany, the so-called Gründerzeit, into a rebellious utopia- provide us with in-depth insights into the connection between generational experience and critique of the life world.

390 pp. with 3 illustrations

Hardcover with dust jacket

Göttingen/Bristol, Conn.: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015

ISBN: 978-3-525-37037-7
Price: 70,00 € (D)

ISBN (e-book): 978-3-647-37037-8
Price: 59,99 € (D)


Carsten Schapkow, in: Sehepunkte 18 (2018), no. 10.

Gabriele Guerra, in: LINKS. Rivista di letteratura e cultura tedesca/Zeitschrift für deutsche Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft 17 (2017), 115–117.

Klaus Prätor, in: H-Soz-Kult, 14. Juli 2016.

Guilia A. Disanto, in: Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven und Bibliotheken (QFIAB) 96 (2016), 643–644.

Walter Fähnders, in: Archiv für die Geschichte des Widerstandes und der Arbeit 20 (2016), 626–628.

O. V., in: Magazin der Max Weber Stiftung (2015), no. 2, 50.