logo-cropped

Nottingham’s independent bookshop | 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH | 0115 8373097

Birth of the Intellectuals : 1880-1900

Charle, Christophe
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Polity Press
Published: June 26, 2015
ISBN: 9780745690360
280 pages

£17.99

Who exactly are the intellectuals ? This term is so widely used today that we forget that it is a recent invention, dating from the late nineteenth century. In Birth of the Intellectuals, the renowned historian and sociologist Christophe Charle shows that the term intellectuals first appeared at the time of the Dreyfus Affair, and the neologism originally signified a cultural and political vanguard who dared to challenge the status quo. Yet the word, expected to disappear once the political crisis had dissolved, has somehow endured. At times it describes a social group, and at others a way of seeing the social world from the perspective of universal values that challenges established hierarchies. But why did intellectuals survive when the events that gave rise to this term had faded into the past? To answer this question, it is necessary to show how the crisis of the old representations, the unprecedented expansion of the intellectual professions and the vacuum left by the decline of the traditional ruling class created favourable conditions for the collective affirmation of intellectuals . This also explains why the literary or academic avant garde traditionally reluctant to engage gradually reconciled themselves with political activists and developed new ways to intervene in the field of power outside of traditional political channels. Through a careful rereading of the petitions surrounding the Dreyfus Affair, Charle offers a radical reinterpretation of this crucial moment of European history and develops a new model for understanding the ways in which public intellectuals in France, Germany, Britain, and the United States have addressed politics ever since.

Postage is calculated at 10% of your order value, up to a maximum of £3.00. There is a free postage option at checkout if you are housebound/shielding, on low income, or need help with postage costs for any other reason.  Your order will usually arrive within 2-3 working days. Delivery prices and times to other countries may vary (prices calculated at checkout).