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On Looking Into The Abyss by Gertrude Himmelfarb


Himmelfarb exposes the intellectual and spiritual impoverishment of some of our most fashionable current ideas–and shows how the vogue for historical structuralism has made it possible to trivialize the tragedy of the Holocaust.

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In the vast expanse of intellectual discourse, Gertrude Himmelfarb emerges as a luminary, her scholarly pursuits illuminating the corridors of history and the intricacies of intellectual culture. As Professor Emeritus of History at the Graduate School of the City University of New York, Himmelfarb’s distinguished career has left an indelible mark on the field of intellectual history, with her studies in Acton, Mill, and Victorian England standing as testament to her profound insights and meticulous scholarship.

In her seminal work, “On Looking Into the Abyss,” Himmelfarb embarks on a sobering reflection on the state of our intellectual culture, offering a poignant critique of the prevailing trends in literary criticism, philosophy, and historical scholarship. With a keen eye for detail and a razor-sharp intellect, she navigates the labyrinthine complexities of post-modernism, exposing its philosophical shortcomings and its deleterious effects on our understanding of morality and virtue.

Himmelfarb’s analysis is both incisive and provocative, challenging readers to confront the consequences of abandoning the standards of scholarship and embracing moral relativism. Through her meticulous examination of figures like Mill and the nuances of liberal thought, she reveals the tensions between individual autonomy and societal responsibility, offering a compelling argument for the preservation of classical liberal virtues in the face of cultural decay.

While some may find themselves at odds with Himmelfarb’s social-conservative perspective, her unwavering commitment to intellectual rigor and scholarly integrity is undeniable. She reminds us of the profound impact that ideas have on society, urging us to resist the siren call of moral nihilism and to uphold the standards of scholarship in our pursuit of knowledge.

“On Looking Into the Abyss” is not merely a book—it is a call to arms, a rallying cry for those who believe in the enduring power of ideas and the importance of intellectual engagement. Himmelfarb’s insights are a beacon of light in an increasingly murky intellectual landscape, guiding us through the shadows of post-modernism and reminding us of the timeless value of moral reasoning and scholarly inquiry.

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Weight0.7 kg

On Looking Into The Abyss: Untimely Thoughts […]


Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.


Gertrude Himmelfarb

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ISBN/EAN        9780679428268