Cult of the will : nervousness and German modernity /
Michael Cowan.
University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2008.
ix, 343 p.
0271032065 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780271032061 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c2008.
0271032065 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780271032061 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Introduction: Reimagining the will in the age of nervousness -- Capitalism and Abulia -- Entr'acte: willpower in the age of enterprise -- Healing the will: popular medicine and the emergence of will therapy -- Training the will: gymnastics and body culture -- Educating the will: reform pedagogy and the school of rhythm -- Mapping the will: European nervousness and American willpower -- Afterword: Notes on the persistence of will therapy.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2008-12-01:
Bombarded as contemporary society is by continuous visual and aural stimuli, readers may be perversely comforted to realize that the current angst over loss of will power--what Cowan (German studies, McGill Univ.) characterizes as abulia--was an often-described social, economic, medical, and aesthetic concern around 1900. The author provides a wide-ranging yet deep analysis of Willenskultur, i.e., the attempt to overcome the loss of will and, with it, agency. In a discussion that embraces such turn-of-the-century examples as expressionist art and literature (whose protagonists criticized impressionism for its passive reaction to outside stimuli), gymnastics, and educational reform, Cowan looks at Thomas Mann's magisterial Buddenbrooks (1901), Joseph Schumpeter's The Theory of Economic Development (German, 1911), and the increasing popularity of the body-culture movement. Cowan's interdisciplinary analyses bring together the diverse strands of 20th-century modernity that Wilhelmine writers, artists, economists, physicians, and psychologists questioned. Though often categorized as modernists, these critics sought to find remedies for the rapid, unsettling transformations of their time. Cowan deftly incorporates many contemporary fin-de-siecle examples to argue his central contention that attempts at control were widespread and deemed crucial for a rapidly transforming German society. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Deshmukh George Mason University
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Choice, December 2008
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Bowker Data Service Summary
Michael Cowan presents a study of modernity's preoccupation with willpower. From Nietzsche's 'will to power' to a fantasy of the 'triumph of the will' under Nazism, the will - its pathologies and potential cures - was a topic of urgent debate in European modernity.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introduction: Reimagining the Will in the Age of Nervousnessp. 1
Capitalism and Abuliap. 21
Entr'acte: Willpower in the Age of Enterprisep. 65
Healing the Will: Popular Medicine and the Emergence of Will Therapyp. 69
Training the Will: Gymnastics and Body Culturep. 111
Educating the Will: Reform Pedagogy and the School of Rhythmp. 171
Mapping the Will: European Nervousness and American Willpower in Alfred Kubin's "Die Andere Seite"p. 223
Afterword: Notes on the Persistence of Will Therapyp. 255
Notesp. 265
Bibliographyp. 317
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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