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Bloch, Ernst (1885–1977) German Marxist


Subject Literature

Place Western Europe » Germany

Key-Topics Marxism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


philosopher. Born in Ludwigshafen, the son of a railway worker, Bloch was educated in Munich, Würzburg, and Berlin (where he met Lukács) before moving to Heidelberg. In his first expressionistic book, Geist der Utopia (1918) Bloch sought to revitalize utopian thought, seemingly combining Marxist materialism with mystic and messianic elements. Thomas Münzer als Theologe der Revolution (1921) developed Bloch's concern with the revolutionary potential of religious thought, and indeed his perception of the inherently religious nature of humanity. In Erbschaft dieser Ziet (Heritage of Our Times) (1935) Bloch responded to the rise of Nazism with a series of cultural and social analyses that embraced physics alongside music, cinema, literature, and politics. In 1938 Bloch was forced into exile in America. Although he had no academic post, it was there that he wrote his most important work, Das Prinzip Hoffnung (The Principle of Hope) . This may be taken to underline the shift in emphasis of Bloch's concerns from the religious and messianic to a more broadly based social and cultural analysis of utopian aspiration and longing. In 1949 Bloch returned to Europe, to a post at Leipzig University. The following decade saw Bloch's increasing disillusionment with Eastern European Communism, and periodic but severe criticism by more orthodox or vulgar Marxists. By chance he was in West Germany ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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