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By Paul Mendes-Flohr
Published March 26, 2019
“Exquisite” —Amir Eshel, Stanford University
The first major biography in English in over thirty years of the seminal modern Jewish thinker Martin Buber
An authority on the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber (1878–1965), Paul Mendes-Flohr offers the first major biography in English in thirty years of this seminal modern Jewish thinker. Organized around several key moments—such as his sudden abandonment by his mother when he was a child of three—Mendes-Flohr shows how this foundational trauma left an enduring mark on Buber’s inner life, attuning him to the fragility of human relations and the need to nurture them with what he would call a “dialogical attentiveness.”
Buber’s philosophical and theological writings, most famously I and Thou, made significant contributions to religious and Jewish thought, philosophical anthropology, biblical studies, political theory, and Zionism. In this accessible new biography, Mendes-Flohr situates Buber’s life and legacy in the intellectual and cultural life of German Jewry as well as in the broader European intellectual life of the first half of the twentieth century.
By Phyllis Rose
Published April 16, 2019
“The work of a master” —Judith Thurman, author of Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
A fascinating biography of a revolutionary American artist ripe for rediscovery as a photographer and champion of other artists
Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) was an enormously influential artist and nurturer of artists even though his accomplishments are often overshadowed by his role as Georgia O’Keeffe’s husband. This new book from celebrated biographer Phyllis Rose reconsiders Stieglitz as a revolutionary force in the history of American art.
Born in New Jersey, Stieglitz at age eighteen went to study in Germany, where his father, a wool merchant and painter, insisted he would get a proper education. After returning to America, he became one of the first American photographers to achieve international fame. By the time he was sixty, he gave up photography and devoted himself to selling and promoting art. His first gallery, 291, was the first American gallery to show works by Picasso, Rodin, Matisse, and other great European modernists. His galleries were not dealerships so much as open universities, where he introduced European modern art to Americans and nurtured an appreciation of American art among American artists.
By Shlomo Avineri
Published August 6, 2019
“A pleasure to read” —Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
A new exploration of Karl Marx's life through his intellectual contributions to modern thought
Karl Marx (1818–1883)—philosopher, historian, sociologist, economist, current affairs journalist, and editor—was one of the most influential and revolutionary thinkers of modern history, but he is rarely thought of as a Jewish thinker, and his Jewish background is either overlooked or misrepresented. Here, distinguished scholar Shlomo Avineri argues that Marx’s Jewish origins did leave a significant impression on his work. Marx was born in Trier, then part of Prussia, and his family had enjoyed equal rights and emancipation under earlier French control of the area. But then its annexation to Prussia deprived the Jewish population of its equal rights. These developments led to the reluctant conversion of Marx’s father, and similar tribulations radicalized many young intellectuals of that time who came from a Jewish background.
Avineri puts Marx’s Jewish background in its proper and balanced perspective, and traces Marx’s intellectual development in light of the historical, intellectual, and political contexts in which he lived.