Title The Wreckage of Philosophy
Subtitle Carlo Michelstaedter and the Limits of Bourgeois Thought
Author Mimmo Cangiano
ISBN 9781487504649
List price USD 65.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 200
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“Offering a brilliant and original reading of Michelstaedter’s philosophy, Mimmo Cangiano has written the first book to do so in English since 1992. By providing a detailed interpretation of Michelstaedter’s work in English, Cangiano makes this challenging philosopher accessible to an English-speaking audience, while also offering his own powerfully original reading and engagement with the philosopher. Rather than entering into Michelstaedter’s corpus through his poetry or painting, as much recent scholarship has done, Cangiano undertakes the challenging task of reading the philosophy itself, putting Michelstaedter’s thought back on the table.”

Giuseppe Gazzola, Department of European Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Stony Brook University


“Mimmo Cangiano is extremely well versed in the relevant critical material, especially in the theoretical and literary works of Michelstaedter’s time, which he invokes and marshals to build this original interpretation.”

Thomas Harrison, Professor, Department of Italian, University of California, Los Angeles


The Wreckage of Philosophy constitutes a valuable tool for students and faculty specializing in history of philosophy, nineteenth-century German philosophy, for instance Nietzsche and Hegel, as well as modernist thought, and the historical context of Italy in the beginning of the twentieth century.”

Valerio Cappozzo, Assistant Professor, Department of Modern Languages, University of Mississippi


The work of Carlo Michelstaedter (1887–1910) was the first to analyze modernist philosophy in strict connection with social changes in mass society. Revealing how Michelstaedter was able to unveil the relations between pivotal early-modernist philosophies and social restructurings, The Wreckage of Philosophy examines the ongoing processes of “specialization,” “rationalization,” and “atomization.” It points out how Michelstaedter connected the main theoretical expressions of modernism with the decisive social transformations of the early twentieth century, taking into consideration the key players of modernist philosophy, such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Ernst Mach, and William James.

By following Michelstaedter’s analysis and strategies, The Wreckage of Philosophy focuses on several intertwined issues: the distinct philosophical positions within the modernist area; the connections between philosophy and modernist literature; the relations between intellectual positions and social upheavals; and the early-twentieth-century links among traditional philosophy, critique of language, and epistemology of technique.




Chapter 1. The Crisis of Truth • I. Michelstaedter and the Two Sides of Modernist Thought • II. The Social Overcoming of the Aesthetic Perspective • III. The Social Overcoming of Ethical Life and Tragic Thought

Chapter 2. The Individual Will/Need and the Social Second Nature • I. The Light of Will and the “Direct Mode”, or Michelstaedter’s Version of Specialization • II. The Vortex of Correlativity, or Michelstaedter’s Version of Relativism • III. The Organization (Abstraction) of Relativity • IV. The “Connective Mode”

Chapter 3. Rhetoric’s Paths • I. Rhetoric in Language: Michelstaedter’s Sparchkritik and Giuseppe Prezzolini • II. The Abstractions of the Social Machine and the Master-Slave Dialectic • III. The Wreckage of Greek Philosophy and the Road to Persuasion

Chapter 4. The Persuasion-Rhetoric’s Dialectic: History and Social Being • I. Science, Technology, and the Historical Character of the Second Nature • II. Ethics, Practice, and Dialectics • III. Rhetoric’s Peak

Conclusion: The Limits of Bourgeois Thought: Persuasion and Rhetoric and History and Class Consciousness




About the Author:

Mimmo Cangiano is Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Target Audience:

People interested in Philosophy.

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