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Understanding Europe (The Works of Christopher Dawson)

Christopher Dawson

Publication Year: 2011

In Understanding Europe, Dawson expresses a desire for Europe to rediscover and renew its foundational Christian sources in order to recover a deeper sense of integrity.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: The works of Christopher Dawson

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v

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pp. vii-xvi

Christopher Dawson, who devoted most of his professional life to the study of the past, possessed an uncanny, even unnerving, insight into the future—or so a careful reader of Understanding Europe must conclude. More than half a century ago...

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pp. xvii-xviii

The average European has never given much thought to the nature of the international society to which he belongs. He has been taught to concentrate his attention on the history of his own nation and the political and economic problems of his own state. And so today, when the European question has...

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pp. xix

The author wishes to express his gratitude to the editors of the Dublin Review, the Month, Lumen Vitae (Brussels) and Our Culture, in which portions of this book have already appeared. He also wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Geoffrey Bles Ltd. for permission to...

Part I: The Nature of Europe

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I. How to Understand Our Past

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pp. 3-19

No one can look at the history of Western civilization during the present century without feeling dismayed at the spectacle of what modern man has done with his immense resources of new knowledge and new wealth...

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II. Europe and the Seven Stages of Western Culture

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pp. 20-37

The existence of Europe is the basis of the historical development of the modern world, and it is only in relation to that fact that the development of each particular state can be understood. Nevertheless it is a submerged...

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III. Europe Not a Continent but a Society of Peoples

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pp. 38-52

The question of the nature of Europe—of the relations of the European states to one another, and of the parts to the whole— has always been the great problem in all attempts to establish an international order. But the...

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IV. Germany and Central Europe

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pp. 53-68

The difficulties imposed on the European society of peoples by the inadequacies of the European system have nowhere been greater than in Central Europe, above all in the German lands. Ever since the Middle Ages Germany and Austria have been a kind of microcosm of Europe...

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V. Eastern Europe and Russia

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pp. 69-83

In the past, the European, society of nations extended far beyond the limit of what is generally known as Western Europe. It included: a number of kingdoms and nationalities which shared the intellectual and religious traditions...

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VI. Russia and Asia

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pp. 84-99

Russia is not a country like the countries of Western Europe— a nation among the nations—it is a world apart which still remains a mystery to the average Westerner. There is no end to Russia— it is a land without frontiers...

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VII. Asia and Europe

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pp. 100-107

There has always been a tendency to regard Europe and Asia as the opposite poles of human civilization. It is an ancient tradition which goes back as far as the origins of European historiography, for Herodotus...

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VIII. Europe Overseas: Colonization and Empire

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pp. 108-127

The change in the world position of Europe which has taken place during the last fifty years has inevitably caused a strong reaction against the spirit of nineteenth-century imperialism. The idea of empire has become identified...

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IX. Europe Overseas: The New World of America

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pp. 128-148

Of all the achievements of the European expansion overseas, the creation of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest. The more the importance of Europe as the centre of world power and economic organization...

Part II: The Present Crisis of Western Culture

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X. Intellectual Antecedents: Hegel and theGerman Ideology

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pp. 151-164

The situation in which we find ourselves involved to-day is an extraordinarily complex one. The world is passing through a process of violent change, accelerated by war and revolution, the effects of which are felt even in the most remote and...

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XI. The Revolt against Europe

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pp. 165-181

The chane in the world position of European culture during the present century has been so great that it is difficult to find any parallel to it in the whole course of history. In comparison with this the greatest changes in the history of ancient...

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XII. The World Wars and the Growth of the Mass State

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pp. 182-194

The distinction of European society by the forces of nationalism and the undermining of Western culture by the spiritual revolt of nihilism were gradual processes which continued for nearly two centuries without interfering with the...

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XIII. The Problem of the Future: Total Secularizationor a Return to Christian Culture

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pp. 195-206

We have seen that the weakness of Western culture in face of the new forces that threaten its existence is due above all to its loss of faith in its own spiritual values and the growing detachment of its external way of life from its religious...

Index of Subjects

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pp. 207-210

Index of Names

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pp. 211-215

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218359
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215440

Page Count: 237
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: The works of Christopher Dawson

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Europe -- Civilization.
  • Civilization, Western.
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