Artistic or intellectual groups

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Artistic or intellectual groups

1Marco357
Redigerat: feb 3, 5:24pm

I am looking for books the explore the "life" and vision of artistic and/or intellectual groups. By "life" I mean the climate, dynamics, interactions/disagreements between members, etc. A concrete example is the book The Murder of Professor Schlick about the Vienna Circle.

I am particularly fascinated with movements between ~1850-1950, but any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

3cpg
feb 3, 3:26pm

Bourbaki: A Secret Society of Mathematicians arguably fits your description. I loved it.

4nessreader
feb 3, 4:59pm

There's 142 Strand by Rosemary Ashton about a radical publisher who networked with George Eliot her later partner Lewes scottish philosopher Carlyle and brought Emerson to the english. The same Ashton wrote Victorian Bloomsbury - this is the site of the british museum and london university. The latter was being built during the period of the book. Roget of thesaurus fame and Darwin of darwin fame lived there. A lot of paths crossing.

But the book I would press into your hands is about the 18th century. The Lunar Men by Jenny Uglow is about a group of amateur experimentalists near Birmingham who met on the night of the full moon (so their horses could see to carry them home) to swop theories and ideas. Dr Darwin (other Darwin's grandfather) Wedgewood the pottery mogul Boulton and Watt of steam engine fame, Priestley who had to flee to America for safety when the mob decided he was a dangerous unEnglish revolutionary. Uglow is a fantastic writer and gives such a sense of who they were individually and collectively.

5Marco357
feb 3, 5:20pm

Thank you for the recommendations, all the suggestions look great!

(I now see how unaware I am of the British intellectual scene, I don't think I'd even find those books without your help.)

6Marco357
feb 3, 5:23pm

>3 cpg: Thank you cpg, I had totally forgotten about Bourbaki!

BTW, I wonder if there are books about the Russian Math School of Pontryagin, Kolmogorov, etc. and the Lwow School (I haven't gotten my hands around Pearls from a Lost City: The LVOV School of Mathematics).

7lilithcat
feb 3, 5:24pm

8nessreader
Redigerat: feb 4, 4:52am

>7 lilithcat:. Thanks lilithcat. I did try but after faffing with brackets gave up; meant to come back to that.

Another one I thought of was the two volume biography of Yeats by R F Foster which has a lot about the celtic twilight - nationalist literary movement, Ireland, 1890s - but it's a huge and daunting amount of reading and Foster tends to assume you already know loads about Irish history.

9cpg
feb 4, 5:58pm

>6 Marco357:

I have Pearls from a Lost City. I'm only about 20 pages in, but it appears to have neither the liveliness nor the production values of the Bourbaki book.

10susanbooks
Redigerat: feb 6, 10:31am

Sorry -- had to double post to get touchstones back

11susanbooks
feb 6, 10:30am

Some of these are outside your time frame, but . . .

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel is a novel but so well researched that you feel like you learn a lot about the people & ideas of the French Revolution (except for Theroigne De Mericourt whose portrayal owes little to history and much to misogyny).

Memoirs (so may be skewed in their perspective but delicious in their inside info):

Being Geniuses Together by Robert McAlmon and Kay Boyle about Anglo-literary Paris in the 1920s

Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson about the Beats, mostly Kerouac

And excellent group bios:
The Peabody Sisters by Megan Marshall about 3 mid-19th-century women, one of whom married Nathaniel Hawthorne, who supported/created literary Boston.

Women of the Left Bank by Shari Benstock incredible book on (mostly Anglo) women writers (some painters) in Paris from the late 19th century through 1930s

The Young Romantics by Daisy Hay is really good on Percy & Mary Shelley & their circle

Pre-Raphaelites in Love by Gay Daly and The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood by Jan Marsh are both great on, obviously, the Pre-Raphaelite painters and the women who modeled for & married them.

12bnielsen
Redigerat: feb 11, 7:03am

>1 Marco357: The hungarian mathematicians and scientists that helped build the bomb? Teller, Szilard, von Neumann, ...

György Marx's book The Voice of the Martians

"According to György Marx, the extraterrestrial origin of the Hungarian scientists is proved by the fact that the names of Leó Szilárd, John von Neumann and Theodore von Kármán cannot be found on the map of Budapest, but on the Moon are craters bearing their names."

13cpg
feb 11, 4:14pm

While "German mathematicians" is probably much too broad to count as an intellectual group, I think that Mathematicians Under the Nazis has much of the flavor that the OP seemed to be looking for, and I found this book quite interesting.