Ernst Bloch's geist der utopie after a century: a Janus-Faced reading on the Trail of Hope

Siebers, Johan ORCID: (2018) Ernst Bloch's geist der utopie after a century: a Janus-Faced reading on the Trail of Hope. In: Back to the future: tradition and innovation in German studies. Silberman, Marc, ed. German Life and Civilization, 68 . Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 37-62. pbk-ISBN 9781788743037, e-ISBN 9781788743044, e-ISBN 9781788743051. [Book Section] (doi:10.3726/b13304)

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The centenary of the publication of Ernst Bloch’s first book, Geist der Utopie [The Spirit of Utopia] (1918), marks the occasion of looking back at the role it played in the past century and ahead at what its existentialist utopian philosophy offers in the present time. The phenomenology of the spirit of anticipation addressed the hopelessness of the generation that had grown up during the First World War. Today we are confronted with a different hopelessness or resignation with respect to the project of social equality and liberation. This essay argues that it is not enough to tap into the resources of critical theory and post-metaphysical thinking in our attempts to reclaim radical hope; something more is needed. Geist der Utopie models a strategy for philosophical reflection on and opens a door onto this “something more.” Like a Janus head, it looks in two temporal directions, setting free the agency and spontaneity of the present.

Sie scheinen allein zu sein, doch ahnen sie immer.

— HÖLDERLIN, “Wie wenn am Feiertage”

We seem to be living in times which have made us forget how to hope. Amid the many pressing issues of our day – climate change, failing political and public institutions, the widening gap between rich and poor, geopolitical tension and conflict, the encroaching force of...

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: ISSN: 0899-9899; v. 68, Proceedings of the 50th Wisconsin Workshop held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, September 14-16, 2017. Preface: "The essays in this volume are revised, extended versions of presentations at the 50th Wisconsin Workshop, held at the University of Wisconsin in Madison from September 14 to 16, 2017"
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 24296
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript that has been published in Back to the future: tradition and innovation in German studies edited by Marc Silberman in the series German Life and Civilization. The original work can be found at:
© copyright Peter Lang AG), 2018. All rights reserved
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Depositing User: Johan Siebers
Date Deposited: 29 May 2018 12:32
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2021 05:43

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