Gay, Peter 1923-
Gay, Peter 1923-
GAY, Peter 1923-
(Peter Jack Gay)
PERSONAL: Surname originally Froehlich; born June 20, 1923, in Berlin, Germany; immigrated to Cuba, April, 1939; immigrated to the United States, 1941; naturalized U.S. citizen, 1946; son of Morris Peter and Helga (Kohnke) Gay; married Ruth Slotkin (a writer), May 30, 1959; stepchildren: Sarah Khedouri, Sophie Glazer Cohen, Elizabeth Glazer. Education: University of Denver, A.B., 1946; Columbia University, M.A., 1947, Ph.D., 1951; psychoanalytic training at Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis, 1976–83. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Atheist.
CAREER: Columbia University, New York, NY, began as instructor, became assistant professor of government, 1947–56, associate professor, 1956–62, professor of history, 1962–69; Yale University, New Haven, CT, professor of comparative and intellectual European history, 1969, Durfee Professor of History, 1970–84, Sterling Professor of History, 1984–93, professor emeritus, 1993–. Director, Center for Scholars and Writers, New York Public Library.
AWARDS, HONORS: Alfred Hodder, Jr. fellow, Princeton University, 1955–56; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, 1959–60; Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences fellow, 1962–63; Frederic G. Melcher Book Award, 1967, for The Party of Humanity: Essays in the Enlightenment; National Book Award, 1967, for The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Volume 1: The Rise of Modern Paganism; Guggenheim fellowships, 1967–68, 1976–77; Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, Phi Beta Kappa, 1969, for Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider; overseas fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge, 1970–71; Rockefeller Foundation fellow, 1979–80; Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination, 1984, for The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Volume 1: Education of the Senses; visiting fellow, Institute for Advanced Study-Berlin, 1984; recipient of first awarded Amsterdam Prize for history, 1991; Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin, Germany) fellowship, 1984; Oskar Pfister award, 1990, for "Freud: The Atheistic Jew"; gold medal in history, American Institute of Arts and Letters, 1996. Honorary doctorates from University of Denver, 1970, University of Maryland, 1979, Hebrew Union College, 1983, Clark University, 1985, Suffolk University, 1987, and Tufts University, 1988.
The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism: Eduard Bernstein's Challenge to Marx, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1952.
Voltaire's Politics: The Poet as Realist, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1959.
The Party of Humanity: Essays in the French Enlightenment, Knopf (New York, NY), 1964.
(With editors of Time-Life Books) Age of Enlightenment, Time (New York, NY), 1966.
The Loss of Mastery: Puritan Historians in Colonial America, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1966.
The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Knopf (New York, NY), Volume 1: The Rise of Modern Paganism, 1966, Volume 2: The Science of Freedom, 1969.
Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider, Harper (New York, NY), 1968.
The Bridge of Criticism: Dialogues among Lucian, Erasmus, and Voltaire on the Enlightenment on History and Hope, Imagination and Reason, Constraint and Freedom and on Its Meaning for Our Time, Harper (New York, NY), 1970.
Eighteenth-Century Studies, University Press of New England (Lebanon, NH), 1972.
The Berlin-Jewish Spirit, a Dogma in Search of Some Doubts, Leo Baeck Institute (New York, NY), 1972.
Eighteenth-Century Studies Presented to Arthur M. Wilson, 1972.
(With Robert K. Webb) Modern Europe, two volumes, Harper (New York, NY), 1973.
Style in History, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1974.
Art and Act: On Causes in History Manet, Gropius, Mondrian, Harper (New York, NY), 1976.
Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1978.
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), Volume 1: Education of the Senses, 1984, Volume 2, The Tender Passion, 1986, Volume 3: The Cultivation of Hatred, 1993, Volume 4: The Naked Heart, 1995, Volume 5: Pleasure Wars, Norton (New York, NY), 1997.
Freud for Historians, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1985.
A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1987.
Freud: A Life for Our Time, Norton (New York, NY), 1988.
Reading Freud, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1990.
My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin (memoir), Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1998.
Mozart, Lipper/Viking Book (New York, NY), 1999.
Schnitzler's Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture, 1815–1914, Norton (New York, NY), 2001.
Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks (history), Norton (New York, NY), 2002.
(And translator) Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, two volumes, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1962.
(And translator) Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, Candide (bilingual edition), St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1963.
(Compiler) Deism: An Anthology, Van Nostrand, 1968.
(With John Arthur Garraty) The Columbia History of the World, Harper (New York, NY), 1971, published as A History of the World, 1972.
Historians at Work, Harper (New York, NY), Volume 1 (with Gerald J. Cavanaugh): Herodotus to Froissart, 1972, Volume 2 (with Victor G. Wexler): Valla to Gibbon, 1972, Volume 3 (with Victor G. Wexler), 1975, Volume 4 (with Gerald J. Cavanaugh), 1975.
The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1973, revised edition, 1985.
A Freud Reader, Norton (New York, NY), 1989.
(Coeditor) Enlightenment, Passion, Modernity: Historical Essays in European Thought and Culture, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2000.
Also author of introductions for books, including The German Dictatorship: The Origins, Structure, and Effects of National Socialism, by Karl Dietrich Bracher, Praeger, 1971; and Memoirs of Madame de La Tour du Pin, edited and translated by Felice Harcourt, McCall, 1971. Contributor to "A View of a Decade," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, September 10 through November 10, 1977, The Museum, 1977; contributor of bibliography to Enlightenment, Passion, Modernity: Historical Essays in European Thought, edited by Mark S. Micale and Robert L. Dietle, Stanford University Press, 2000. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including American Scholar and New Republic. Gay's works have been translated into Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.
SIDELIGHTS: Cultural historian Peter Gay has gained the respect of fellow educators and the regard of the general reading public with his detailed examination of modern history. From the philosophical movements of eighteenth-century France that ushered in the "modern" era to the artistic, scientific, and political movements characteristic of Germany early in this century, Gay draws on the traditions of both art and science in developing historical perspectives strongly grounded in a social/intellectual framework. The process by which Gay writes is painstaking in its thoroughness to detail. He conducts copious research, uncovering treatises, diaries, letters, literary works, artworks, and numerous other records of significance to the historical epoch. Through careful analysis, Gay determines the relative importance of his findings to his subject and reconstructs a comprehensive and objective image of the period and people under scrutiny, an image stripped of the alterations of previous historians and the obscuring effects of both time and cultural bias. The process of historical reconstruction is shaped by Gay's varied experience an education that includes degrees in political science, history, and psychoanalysis, as well as an ongoing interest in the arts and his interpretations of primary source material have continuously elicited the praise of critics for their insight and innovation. Gay's seminal works of history have helped to expose distortions in long-accepted accounts and establish new foundations for future study.
While still an undergraduate at the University of Denver, Gay became fascinated with the eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher David Hume. From Hume, Gay's interest in philosophy extended to the Enlightenment, a European movement that opposed religion by maintaining that a man's capacity to reason was his key to knowledge and understanding of the universe. When Gay became a professor of government at Columbia University, he found that existing secondary sources concentrating on this period were lacking in scope. In 1955 he began work on what would become one of the most in-depth treatments of the age and its epistemology. Often used as a text in college history classes since its publication, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation is divided into two parts. Volume 1, The Rise of Modern Paganism, inquires into the origins of the philosophes' ideas; how such men as Voltaire, Diderot, and Montesquieu achieved intellectual freedom. Gay provides an explanation of how these new ideas were put into practice in Volume 2, The Science of Freedom. A Times Literary Supplement reviewer praised the work, commenting that "for a very long time to come the Enlightenment researcher will have to reckon with Professor Gay's two books, a monument of humane scholarship."
Although much has been written on this period of French history since The Enlightenment was first published in the mid-to late-1960s, the book's perspective on the years preceding the French Revolution is unique. "Ever since the fulminations of Burke and the denunciations of the German Romantics, the Enlightenment has been held responsible for the evils of the modern age, and much scorn has been directed at this supposed superficial rationalism, foolish optimism, and irresponsible Utopianism," Gay contends in the preface to Volume 1. Even the period's defenders had done it no great service: "The amiable caricature drawn by liberal and radical admirers of the Enlightenment has been innocuous," he adds, urging historians that "the time is ready and the demand urgent to move from polemics to synthesis."
"The picture that is painted is wide-ranging: evidence is drawn from writers in Italy and North America as well as France, Germany and Britain," stated a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement of Gay's The Rise of Modern Paganism, which received the National Book Award in 1967. The reviewer expressed admiration for the volume as "penetrating in its interpretive insight as well as sympathetic in its grasp of the historical situation of the eighteenth-century educated man." The Science of Freedom sets forth the social history that provided the intellectual and political climate in which new ideas could flourish. "With increasing secularization, man gains a true picture of his environment and sees how free his is," noted a Times Literary Supplement contributor; "the freedom encourages him toward inquiry, criticism, reform, a readiness to take risks, an awareness of his self-dependence." The American Revolution provided the European philosophes with the proof of their convictions. Gay writes in the book's "Finale": "the splendid conduct of the colonists, their brilliant victory, and their triumphant founding of a republic were convincing evidence, to the philosophes at least, that men had some capacity for self-improvement and self-government, that progress might be a reality instead of a fantasy, and that reason and humanity might become governing rather that merely critical principles." Thirteen years later, in 1789, the Enlightenment would face yet another test of its validity via the French Revolution. But the rallying cry of the street mobs "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" would reflect only a subversion of the philosophical principles that the revolutionary government professed to espouse.
After several years of scholarship on the Enlightenment, during which time he wrote The Party of Humanity: Essays in the Enlightenment and translated and edited both Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary and Candide, Gay turned his attention to the study of late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Germany. Born in Berlin and raised during this turbulent era, Gay brought many personal insights to his writing. Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider, examines Germany as it was during the author's youth, with a population disillusioned following a defeat in World War I and a government burdened, in 1921, with the repayment to the Allies of billions of dollars in war reparations. From the time it was established in 1918 for the purpose of rescuing the German people from the Empire's failure during the Great War, the Weimar Republic faced almost unsolvable problems. Extremists from both the Right and Left generated political turmoil while the rubble-lined streets of German towns and cities and the cost of reparations abroad fueled inflation and fomented economic chaos. Nonetheless, out of this political and economic instability emerged a multitude of cultural activities that comprise the focus of Gay's book. Reviewers of Weimar Culture have praised Gay for his ability to communicate such a complex period to his reader. Peter Jacobsohn wrote in the New Republic that the book is "a virtuoso performance, not least because it has captured, with the greatest economy, a culture whose origin and essence were closely intertwined with its politics." And Walter Laqueur noted in the New York Times Book Review that, while the book contains several "snap statements and characterizations,… [Weimar Culture] has clearly been a labor of love, and despite the difficulties of doing justice to so many disparate trends in various field, [Gay] has succeeded exceedingly well." Laqueur added that the author has "recaptured the spirit of this exciting decade and he provides a reliable guide to it."
In his 1998 memoir, My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin, Gay again looks at his homeland, this time reviewing the 1930s and the rise of the Nazis and the question as to why the Jews did not resist Adolf Hitler when he first came to power. "Ostensibly a memoir and a defense of German Jews for remaining in the Third Reich so long," related Charles S. Maier and Minda de Gunzberg in German Politics and Society, "Gay's autobiographical fragment is also the story of how the only child came to terms with anger and aggression." To overcome these emotions, the author underwent therapy while a graduate student, and it was at this time that he learned a great deal about Sigmund Freud, the figure who would remain so influential in much of his later work. Concerning the Jewish question, Gay concludes that the threat of the Nazis was not as easy to perceive in those times as it is now in retrospect. Although Historian contributor H. Pierre Secher was disappointed by Gay's lack of insight into "why the poison of hatred spread and dominated him for so long," the critic concluded that "this memoir is an effective reply to those who have charged German Jewry with literally missing the boat by not leaving Germany earlier."
Gay also extended his examination of modern German history in a collection of essays published in 1978. Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture reflects its author's concern that Nazi Germany's legacy had tarnished nineteenth-and twentieth-century German culture and distorted their dynamics. More specifically, Freud, Jews, and Other Germans offers readers a reappraisal of "deeply entrenched views about the nature of modernism, the role Jews have played in it, and the relations of Jews to recent German culture," according to reviewer Robert Alter in Commentary. Praising Gay for the balance of his approach, Alter noted that the author "helpfully points out that the great swarm of Jewish thinkers, artists and writers in the Germanic sphere had its healthy share of old-fashioned bourgeois conservatives, and the German Jewry as a whole was by no means predominantly intellectual, and even included appreciable numbers of that rarely mentioned species, the stupid Jew."
The essays in Freud, Jews, and Other Germans reflect Gay's interest in psychology as a means of uncovering the motivation of the individual within a historical context. In the mid-1970s, Gay began seven years of training in psychoanalysis, a course of study that would aid him in his next major work, a five-volume history of nineteenth-century middle-class culture titled The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Gay presents his case for a study of history informed by psychoanalysis in Freud for Historians, published in 1985: "The professional historian has always been a psychologist an amateur psychologist," he writes. "Whether he knows it or not, he operates with a theory of human nature; he attributes motives, studies passion, analyzes irrationality, and constructs his work on the tacit conviction that human beings display certain stable and discernible traits, certain predictable, or at least discoverable, modes of coping with their experience. He discovers causes, and his discovery normally includes acts of the mind…. Among all his auxiliary sciences, psychology is the historian's unacknowledged principal aid."
Education of the Senses, published in 1984, and The Tender Passion, which followed two years later, together comprise Volumes 1 and 2 of The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. The two volumes paint a portrait of sexuality in middle-class England by illustrating the sexual attitudes and perceptions of men and women as they actually existed, dislodging the filter of stereotypes through which the period has often been viewed. Critics of the Victorians have blanketed the period with such adjectives as "stuffy," "hypocritical," "inhibited," and "prudish." "Good" Victorian women were believed to have no interest in sex; indeed, the sexual act itself was consented to solely for the purpose of procreation. At the same time, it is assumed that Victorian husbands typically squandered large portions of their income on frivolities for "kept" women or frequented the establishments of prostitutes. Gay, however, portrays the bourgeois in less extreme terms, in a manner described by Peter S. Prescott in Newsweek as "by no means uncritical, but he makes a plausible case that bourgeois life was both an appropriate response to a world in flux and richer in experience than is generally thought."
Education of the Senses received praise from reviewers for the quantity of resources and depth of analysis brought to bear on its subject by its author. Paul Robinson wrote in the New Republic that Gay "traffics with equal comfort in literary works, medical treatises, and advice manuals, not to mention painting and sculpture." Although sometimes critical of Gay's Freudian approach, Nation contributor Elaine Showalter commended the work, commenting that Education of the Senses is "a major work of cultural history, monumental in its ambitions, immensely readable, powerfully human. It is sure to change the way we think about our present as well as our past." However, despite the thoroughness of his documentation, some reviewers have expressed disappointment that the work did not encompass such information as the role of Queen Victoria, the rising tide of homosexual movements, and society's toleration of prostitutes, all of which were major aspects of Victorian society. Noel Annan, reviewing The Tender Passion for the New York Review of Books, reflected a contrary criticism leveled at Gay's work when he comments that there will be "those who will shake their heads over attempts to encapsulate the experience of a social class not merely in one country but in Europe and America and not merely in one or two decades but over a period of seventy years."
In the third volume of Gay's history of Victorian cultural mores, 1993's The Cultivation of Hatred, the historian continues his study by examining the nineteenth-century's efforts to come to terms with its darker side; to deal with "the potential for violence and cruelty contained within the family, within the psyche and within the hitherto God-given arrangement of the social hierarchy," in the words of Washington Post Book World contributor Christopher Hitchens. Industrialization, the growing awareness of the implications of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories, and the continuing legacy of the Enlightenment laid bare man's souls and, in true Victorian fashion, steps were quickly taken to cover them back up. Hence the rise of corporal punishments, regimented prison systems, public executions, and even mean-spirited humor, as well as by quasi-militaristic organizations such as dueling clubs, which endeavored to create, in the words of William James, "the moral equivalent of war." Sensing their weaknesses, Victorians found civilized, cultivated, restrained ways to show their strength. The outbreak of the Great War in August of 1914 would provide a moral excuse for ending such repression of natural aggression; it was, as Hitchens noted, "the almost orgasmic culmination of an age of ambition and fierce continence … an almost hysteri-cal feeling of release." While praising Gay's thesis as fascinating, New York Times Book Review contributor James R. Kincaid questioned the historian's approach in The Cultivation of Hatred, noting that Gay's "period history fails to make much reference to other periods, and thus renders dubious any claims for the distinctiveness of his findings." While questioning the lack of significance Gay seems to attach to class in his analysis of individuals and their response to feelings of aggression and other passions stereotypes have been that the lower classes exhibit little self-control, the upper classes too much Richard Sennet commented in the Los Angeles Times Book Review that "in this volume we begin to understand the complex balance of aggressions contained in the 19th-Century cultivation of hatred, a balance which could be so easily upset. Gay makes comprehensible … how a seemingly remote assassination in Sarajevo could tip over an entire civilization."
Volume 4, The Naked Heart, was published in 1995 to characteristic acclaim by critics. A discussion of the Romantic concepts that captured the minds and imagination of so many Victorian artists painters and sculptors, writers, and musicians Gay describes how the Romantic cult of self, with its disavowal of the rationalism born of the Enlightenment, permeated much of middle-class society. Romanticism created a new body of literature exemplified by writers such as Henry James, who delved into individual psyches rather than simply told a good yarn. Biographies became the books of choice for many of the era's increasingly sophisticated readers due to the revelations they contained about both writer and subject, while writing one's autobiography, or even painting one's self-portrait, became all the rage. "With the aid of Freud," contended Frank Kermode in the New York Times Book Review, "the 19th-century conflicts between instinct and civilization are here as fully examined as anybody could wish." Meshing with his earlier works, The Naked Heart reflects "the Victorian concern for privacy," which, according to Richard Jenkyns in the New York Review of Books, "created a secure space within which the inner life could freely expand and couples achieve frankness and intimacy."
In the fifth and final volume of The Bourgeois Experience, Pleasure Wars, concludes Gay's immense study, but it is a conclusion that Victorian Studies critic John Maynard described as "something of a disappointment." A study of the relationship between artists of the Victorian era and their patrons, the volume provides considerable information about "costs of works of art, donors' and patrons' incomes," reported Maynard, who added that the "assemblage of those facts may … please the scholar as a useful summary of diverse information." However, the reviewer felt that "there is little new here to interest the reader," and that the book "reminds me of those tiresome and dutiful chapters that political historians add at the end of their histories." Despite this criticism, Maynard still believed that Pleasure Wars has many virtues: "it does cover a very large subject with a great deal of interesting information about music and art and at least some attempts at literature…. It is especially good in offering information from the lost land of the German middle-class and artistic nineteenth century."
Gay readdressed Victorian culture in his Schnitzler's Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture 1815–1914. Here, the historian continues to argue that Victorians were not as prudish as they have been made out to be. Thus, a Publishers Weekly contributor characterized the book as a more compact version of The Bourgeois Experience, noting that "the author really isn't saying anything he hasn't said before." The title of the book refers to Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler. Though certainly not one of the most renowned writers of the nineteenth century, Schnitzler is used by Gay as an example because his occasionally racy plays counter the image of the stuffy Victorian. The author then proceeds to explain that the middle classes of the Victorian era were a very diverse group that should not be pigeonholed with simple stereotypes. While observing that Schnitzler's Century falls short in some respects, such as in ignoring "the rich literature on the cultural construction of sexuality," Nation writer Paul Reitter praised Gay for "doing more than anyone else to defend bourgeois culture." Writing in the Spectator, Jane Ridley concluded that the book "is the work of an emeritus. It's stylish and elegant but less closely engaged and densely written than the earlier books. If there are few surprises here, that's because so much of Peter Gay's pioneering work has become the basis of a new orthodoxy. He really has changed the way we think about the Victorians."
In adopting the Freudian perspective within many of his historical analyses, it was natural that Gay eventually turn his scrutiny to the father of psychoanalysis himself. This the historian did, publishing both Freud: A Life for Our Time and A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis. "Gay seems intent on presenting Freud's development of psychoanalysis as the result of a purely scientific pursuit of truth, isolated from any external influences," William J. McGrath wrote in the New York Review of Books of Freud: A Life for Our Time. In support of his contention that Freud's science was not influenced by the cultural, political, or religious climate in which its creator lived, Gay counters arguments to the contrary in a series of documented essays. Although critical of the book for the position Gay espouses concerning Freud's early influences, McGrath conceded that "Gay's work on Freud has many strengths, and offers much that contributes to a deepened understanding of his life and personality."
Relying on archival materials far in excess of anything previously available to revisionist historians of the life of Freud, Gay imbues his biography of the great man, Freud: A Life for Our Time, with "a delightful freshness and assures it a wonderful transparency: you see straight through it to its subject," according to Richard Wollheim in the New York Times Book Review. Gay concludes his work with a bibliographic essay that Wollheim noted will be invaluable in scholarly research on this subject: "Mr. Gay nearly exhausts the Freud literature, interspersing lists of books and articles with comments that are judicious, witty and incisive."
Setting his examination of Freud's life and work under the shadow of war that constantly fell over Germany's political horizon, Gay examines the life, relationships, and thoughts of this noted twentieth-century thinker. "The great man, in Gay's eyes, was the product of a culture and period as well as of his upbringing," according to R.Z. Sheppard in a Time magazine review. The book covers a broad scope of material: it provides an account of Freud's daily life, details the history of the nascent psychoanalytic movement in early twentieth-century Vienna, provides a psychoanalytic view of Freud's relationship with both himself and with others, contains a chronology of the development of his psychoanalytic theories, and places both Freud's life and work within a cultural framework. Frances Partridge praised Freud: A Life for Our Time in the Spectator: "The professor's summaries and elucidations of Freud's works, including the case histories, are dazzling, and only a little less enjoyable than the books themselves." David Ingleby took Gay to task in his Times Literary Supplement assessment, however, for not going into greater detail in his analysis of the components and contradictions inherent in Freud's theories themselves. "In fact," Ingleby commented, "apart from a few concessions in the direction of feminism, Gay's reading of Freudian theory is more or less that of the analytic institutes: many other ways of looking at the texts are simply ignored, or relegated to the bibliographical essay at the end of the book. In a work that claims to give 'the total Freud,' this will hardly do." However, Ingleby agreed that Freud: A Life for Our Time "is impressive not so much because of any new factual revelations about Freud but for the original way in which it weaves together what we already know," and reflects the estimation of critics by noting of Gay's style: "It is written with enormous vitality and insight; the language is colourful but precise, bringing to life a wealth of personal information with a novelist's eye for detail."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Gay, Peter, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Knopf (New York, NY), Volume 1: The Rise of Modern Paganism, 1966, Volume 2: The Science of Freedom, 1969.
Gay, Peter, The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Volume 1: Education of the Senses, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1984.
Gay, Peter, Freud for Historians, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1985.
Gay, Peter, My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1998.
America, February 25, 1984, Philip C. Rule, review of The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Volume 1: Education of the Senses, p. 138; May 6, 2002, Peter Heinegg, "Downhill since Victoria," review of Schnitzler's Century: The Making of Middle-Class Culture, 1815–1914, p. 27.
Booklist, May 15, 1999, Ray Olson, review of Mozart, p. 1658; October 15, 2001, Allen Weakland, review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 379; July, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks, p. 1814.
Christian Century, July 28, 1999, Victoria Barnett, review of My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin, p. 745.
Commentary, May, 1970; March, 1978, Robert Alter, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture, p. 61.
Commonweal, January 19, 1979, Wayne Andrews, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 27; March 24, 1989, Eugene Taylor, review of Freud: A Life of Our Time, p. 179.
Economist, January 5, 2002, "Family Resemblances: Victorian Values Revisited," review of Schnitzler's Century.
German Politics and Society, summer, 2001, Charles S. Maier and Minda de Gunzberg, review of My German Question, p. 116.
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), March 17, 1984, Robertson Davies, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1; September 28, 1985.
Guardian (London, England), December 21, 2002, Nicholas Lezard, "The Long March of the Bourgeoisie," review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 30.
Harper's, December, 1983, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 66.
Historian, spring, 2000, H. Pierre Secher, review of My German Question, p. 684.
History Today, June, 1999, Daniel Snowman, review of My German Question, p. 57.
Library Journal, November 1, 2001, Thomas A. Karel, review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 108; July, 2002, Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., review of Savage Reprisals, p. 78.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, February 26, 1984, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 4; September 28, 1985, Richard Sennet, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 3: The Cultivation of Hatred; November 7, 1993, pp. 3, 12.
Nation, May 29, 1967, review of The Loss of Mastery: Puritan Historians in Colonial America, p. 699; April 7, 1969, review of Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider, p. 437; December 29, 1969, review of The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Volume 2: The Science of Freedom, p. 733; May 24, 1984, Elaine Showalter, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 356; February 4, 2002, Paul Reitter, "Vienna: Waltz or Go-Go?," review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 30.
New Leader, October 14, 1974, review of Style in History, p. 18; June 5, 1978, Robert S. Rosen, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 19; March 5, 1984, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 13.
New Republic, January 4, 1969, Peter Jacobsohn, review of Weimar Culture, p. 25; November 26, 1977, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 40; February 6, 1984, Paul Robinson, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 28.
New Statesman, October 18, 1999, Robert Winder, "A Perfect Music," review of Mozart, p. 53; January 24, 2000, Jason Cowley, "Stolen Identity," review of My German Question, p. 57.
New Statesman & Society, May 30, 1975, review of Style in History, p. 731; May 19, 1978, James Fenton, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 674; April 22, 1994, Ray Porter, review of The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Volume 3, p. 37.
Newsweek, January 2, 1984, Peter S. Prescott, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 63.
New Yorker, July 15, 1974, review of Style in History, p. 88; February 21, 1977, review of Art and Act: On Causes in History Manet, Gropius, Mondrian, p. 121.
New York Review of Books, December 18, 1969, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 2: The Science of Freedom, p. 27; May 21, 1970, review of Weimar Culture, p. 22; November 20, 1986, Noel Annan, "The Tender Passion," review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 2, pp. 8-12; August 18, 1988, William J. McGrath, review of Freud: A Life for Our Time, pp. 25-29; January 13, 1994, Noel Annan, review of The Cultivation of Hatred, p. 42; November 30, 1995, Richard Jenkyns, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 4: The Naked Heart, pp. 19-21.
New York Times, December 16, 1966, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 1, p. 49; February 17, 1978, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. C25; December 29, 1983, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 25; March 1, 1986, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 2, pp. L16, N15; August 4, 2002, David S. Reynolds, "Don't Get Mad, Write Novels," review of Savage Reprisals, p. L14.
New York Times Book Review, January 1, 1967, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 1, p. 10; November 24, 1968, Walter Laqueur, review of Weimar Culture, p. 2; November 16, 1969, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 2, p. 4; August 22, 1976, review of Art and Act, p. 6; January 29, 1978, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 7; January 8, 1984, Neil McKendrick, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 1; September 8, 1985, Arnold A. Rogow, review of Freud for Historians, p. 26; March 16, 1986, Paul Robinson, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 2, p. 6; October 11, 1987, John C. Marshall, review of A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis, pp. 39, 68; April 24, 1988, Richard Wollheim, review of Freud, pp. 3, 43, 47; September 5, 1993, James R. Kincaid, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 3, p. 3; October 22, 1995, Frank Kermode, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 4, p. 13.
Observer (London, England), June 15, 1986, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 2, p. 24; July 17, 1988, review of Freud: A Life for Our Time, p. 42.
Publishers Weekly, May 24, 1999, review of Mozart, p. 56; September 10, 2001, review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 69; June 10, 2002, review of Savage Reprisals, p. 54.
Saturday Review, November 26, 1966, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 1, p. 29; November 15, 1969, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 2, p. 35.
Spectator, January 3, 1976, review of Style in History, p. 14; June 11, 1988, Frances Partridge, review of Freud, pp. 35-36; December 29, 2001, Jane Ridley, review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 32.
Sunday Times (London, England), January 10, 1999, Silvia Rodgers, "There Are No Answers," review of My German Question, p. 5; December 9, 2001, Humphrey Carpenter, "Getting Down and Dirty with Europe's Middle-Class Victorians," review of Schnitzler's Century, p. 40.
Time, January 23, 1984, Otto Friedrich, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 70; April 18, 1988, R.Z. Sheppard, review of Freud, pp. 85-86.
Times Literary Supplement, August 29, 1968, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 1, p. 924; June 26, 1969, review of Weimar Culture, p. 710; September 11, 1970, review of The Enlightenment, Volume 2, p. 1000; June 20, 1975, review of Style in History, p. 687; August 17, 1984, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 907; May 20, 1988, David Ingleby, review of Freud, pp. 547-548.
Victorian Studies, autumn, 2001, John Maynard, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 5, p. 108.
Washington Post Book World, October 10, 1976, review of Art and Act, p. 3; February 5, 1978, review of Freud, Jews, and Other Germans, p. 1; January 29, 1984, Andy S. Wohl, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 1, p. 1; September 29, 1985, Kenneth S. Lynn, review of Freud for Historians, p. 11; March 16, 1986, Christopher Hitchens, review of The Bourgeois Experience, Volume 3, p. 8; October 31, 1993, p. 11.