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A Degenerate World


Jerzy Jedlicki

Edited By Elena Rozbicka

Modernism and pessimism seem to go hand in hand. What are the sources of the historical pessimism we see in the legions of writers and thinkers over the past three centuries who saw modern civilization as degenerate and despicable, happily marching to its own doom? Why did so many educated and intelligent people despise the innovations that were the work of their contemporaries? This book focuses on English and Polish thought during the 19 th and early 20 th centuries, a time of relative political stability and great success in science and industry, when many nevertheless voiced concern that Europe is moving in the wrong direction, to its own destruction. After WWI, these warnings became even more dire and have left their mark on the European culture of our times.
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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Jedlicki, Jerzy, author. | Rozbicka, Elena, 1970- editor. Title: A degenerate world / Jerzy Jedlicki ; translated by Tristan Korecki ; edited by Elena Rozbicka. Other titles: Świat zwyrodniały. English Description: Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang Edition, [2016] | Series: Geschichte, Erinnerung, Politik, ISSN 2191-3528 ; Band 14 | Translation of: Świat zwyrodniały : lęki i wyroki krytyków nowoczesności. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016016578| ISBN 9783631642870 (print) | ISBN 9783653031379 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Europe–Civilization–19th century. | Europe–Civilization–20th century. | Social change–Europe–History–19th century. | Social change–Europe–History–20th century. | Poland–Intellectual life–19th century. | Great Britain–Intellectual life–19th century. | Poland–Intellectual life–20th century. | Great Britain–Intellectual life–20th century. | Pessimism–Poland–History. | Pessimism–Great Britain–History. Classification: LCC CB204 .J437 2016 | DDC 940.2/8–dc23 LC record available at

The Publication is founded by Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Poland as a part of the National Programme for the Development of the Humanities. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Ministry cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Cover illustration courtesy of Benjamin Ben Chaim. ISSN 2191-3528 ISBN 978-3-631-64287-0 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-03137-9 (E-Book)...

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