Marcuse, Ludwig

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MARCUSE, LUDWIG (1894–1971), German essayist. Born in Berlin, Marcuse began his career as a drama critic and as the biographer of Buechner (1922) and Strindberg (1924). During his last years in Germany, he also published perceptive biographies of *Boerne (1929) and *Heine (1932). The implicit parallels between Heine's age and his own are prominent in the latter. In 1933 he emigrated to France, visited the Soviet Union, and escaped to the U.S. in 1939. In 1945 he became professor of German literature and philosophy at the University of Southern California. After 1949 he visited Germany several times and resettled there in 1962. He was increasingly drawn to the history of ideas: significant works in this field are his Pessimismus, ein Stadium der Reife (1953) and Amerikanisches Philosophieren (1959). These are stylized, luminous histories of ideas, written for the literate layman. In his autobiographical Mein zwanzigstes Jahrhundert (1960) he records a vast array of intellectual experiences, and presents a kaleidoscope of personalities in Germany, France, the U.S., and Israel.

add. bibliography:

D. Lamping, "Der Aussenseiter und seine 'arme Freiheit' – Ueber Ludwig Marcuse," in: M. Braun et al. (eds.), Hinauf und Zurueck in die herzhelle ZukunftDeutsch-Juedische Literatur im 20. Jahrhundert (2000), 267–79; D. Lamping, Ludwig MarcuseWerk und Wirkung (1987); K.U. Fischer, Ludwig Marcuses schriftstellerische Tätigkeit im franzoesischen Exil 193339 (1976); K.H. Hense, Glueck und SkepsisLudwig Marcuses Philosophie des Humanismus (2000).

[Harold von Hofe]