Erik Svendsen

The intellectuals

Regular price 325,00 kr

Being an intellectual is not a protected title. It is not a profession either. Anyone and everyone can seem like an intellectual, but very few people get the opportunity to do so.

The first part of The Intellectuals explains the historical development in the perceptions of the intellectual and the meanings that have been attributed to the figure in Western culture in the 20th century. Prominent names are, for example, Karl Mannheim, Antonio Gramsci, JeanPaul Sartre, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Edward Said, Frank Furedi, Stefan Collini and Patrick Baert.

The second part explains the history of Danish intellectuals in the 20th and 21st centuries. Two tracks have been dominant. On the one hand a cultural radical from Georg Brandes to PH and on the other a conservative track from Harald Nielsen and Arne Sørensen to Søren Krarup. Hal Koch and Villy Sørensen, however, point to new paths for the welfare society with their reflections on democracy. Emancipation later becomes an agenda-setter in the showdown with conformism, and at the same time, Elsa Gress and Suzanne Brøgger dissolve the male monopoly on acting as an intellectual.

The book concludes with two chapters on extremely current issues: How do intellectuals behave in a digitized era, where social media offers new challenges? And are the intellectuals able to prove their worth during a corona crisis that has called for cultural and political self-examination?

The intellectuals is the first major work in Danish about the voices that are absolutely decisive for the democratic debate.

★★★★ Berlingske, Bent Meier Sørensen
"…the book is an intellectual achievement: long, erudite and worth reading"

★★★★ JyllandsPosten, Henrik Jensen
"Erik Svendsen has put a lot of work into the book (...) "The intellectuals" invites discussion. The intellectuals rarely agree on so much (...) There is a lot to disagree with here, and that is stimulating in a sad corona time"

See Erik Svendsen in an interview about The intellectuals in DR Deadline here