The Perils of Normalcy
George L. Mosse and the Remaking of Cultural History
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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A large number of people have helped me along the way toward this paper. My deepest gratitude goes to Marina Cattaruzza, whom I would like to thank for the constant encouragement in this work on both a professional and a personal level, and for the help, the support, and the invaluable criticism she o¤ered me...
Introduction: The Serpent and the Dove
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George Mosse was a rebel who, along with many other pioneers of cultural history, fought against the so-called traditional historical concerns of politics, society, and economics. His cause, which he shared with so many of his generation, was that of liberty in the face of conformity and totalitarianism...
1. From Machiavellism to Totalitarianism
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There is no doubt that George Mosse’s fame as a historian is due to his major works on fascism, National Socialism, racism, nationalism, and sexuality. His efforts in early modern history, despite some success, have certainly had a less momentous impact on the history of historiography...
2. Beyond the History of Intellectuals
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The “continuity of interests” in Mosse’s work characterized his writings over more than forty years. However, when he began his analysis of modern European history in the mid-1950s, he had to face a new set of historiographical problems. Mosse was now beginning to specialize in the history...
3. The Roots of the Anthropological and Visual Turn
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Mosse wrote in one of his earliest works that “rapid changes in history usually come about when the gulf between what is and what should be, between outward reality and the human condition, becomes painfully apparent”: this belief lay beneath his later assertion that history consists...
4. The Dark Side of Modernity
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The ethical purpose inherent in Mosse’s works, embodied in the “from Machiavellism to totalitarianism” formula, found a new and more challenging dimension when the historian turned more directly to the analysis of the cultural roots of the Holocaust in the 1970s. The idea that modern persecution was the “new Leviathan,” expressed by Mosse in his 1954 Chapel...
5. From Machiavellism to the Holocaust
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The relationship between ethics and politics stands at the center of Mosse’s work, connecting his early modern writings with his major works on nationalism and fascism. His interpretation of Machiavellism lies behind both, strengthening the “continuity of interests” and attributing a...
6. The Missing Link: The Nationalist Revolution
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George Mosse’s contribution to the historiography of fascism has been widely praised as well as deeply influential. Emilio Gentile has written of a “Mosse revolution in the historiography of fascism, a revolution consisting first of all in the novelty of his method of analysis”; in the history of...
7. The “True Mission of Judaism”
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In the course of this study one of the dominant and recurring elements has been Mosse’s critical attitude: toward those mass movements whose irrationality diminished the individual, and toward those historians who clung to an excess of rationality and dismissed the irrational side of history. In opposition...
8. The Granitic Foundation of a Faith
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In the course of this study we have seen how Mosse’s work underwent two grand methodological turns and two thematic shifts. Yet despite these significant changes, there remained marked elements of continuity that characterized a dialectical view of history that never really changed significantly...
Conclusion: George L. Mosse’s Legacy
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George Mosse must certainly be considered one of the founding fathers of cultural history as we know it at the turn of the twenty-first century. If his ideas, as James Wald remarked, “strike us as insightful, but not quite new it is precisely because Mosse was a pioneer in cultural history”;...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2014