Redemption Through Return

The experience of defeat and loss was the subject of earlier studies (the culture of defeat; military retreat; the industrial revolution as the destruction of traditional forms of space, time and life). It turned out that the experience of loss led to a romanticizing reinterpretation of the past. Restoration, reaction and conservatism transfigure the past into a golden age to be recovered.

Returning to the healthy original state of humanity is, however, the goal not only of all restorative, reactionary and conservative world views, but also at the core of progressive thought. The golden future advocated by such thinkers is nothing else than the golden age of the past transposed into the future.

The topic is of a certain topicality against the background of current populist romanticisma reaction to globalization and digitalization, which are perceived as threats.

since 2015
Head researcher(s): Wolfgang Schivelbusch


Wolfgang Schivelbusch

Geschichten eines Tabus

Carl Hanser Verlag, München 2019, 112 pages
ISBN: 978-3-446-26228-7

Media Response

07 May 2019
Ein kulturhistorischer Blick auf den Rückzug

Review by Martin Halter, in: Badische Zeitung, 07 May 2019

08 Apr 2019
Vom Rückzug zur Exit-Strategie. Buch von Wolfgang Schivelbusch

Review by Steffen Richter, in: Der Tagesspiegel, 08 Apr 2019

19 Mar 2019
Der Rückzug als Stiefvater aller Dinge

Review by Franziska Augstein, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 Mar 2019

16 Mar 2019
Sieger wie Verlierer haben ihre Legenden

Review by Jürgen Osterhammel, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 Mar 2019