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Marcuse in 1955 in Newton, Massachusetts
Born July 19, 1898 Berlin, German Empire
Died July 29, 1979 (aged 81) Starnberg, West Germany
Nationality German · American
Alma mater University of Freiburg
Notable work Eros and Civilization (1955) One-Dimensional Man (1964)
Spouse(s) Sophie Wertheim (m. 1924; died 1951) Inge Neumann (m. 1955; died 1973) Erica Sherover (m. 1976)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental philosophy · Frankfurt School critical theory ·
Herbert Marcuse Herbert Marcuse (/mɑːrˈkuːzə/; German: [maɐ̯̍kuːzə]; July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Born in Berlin, Marcuse studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then at Freiburg, where he received his PhD. He was a prominent figure in the Frankfurt-based Institute for Social Research – what later became known as the Frankfurt School. He was married to Sophie Wertheim (1924–1951), Inge Neumann (1955–1973), and Erica Sherover (1976– 1979). In his written works, he criticized capitalism, modern technology, historical materialism and entertainment culture, arguing that they represent new forms of social control.
Between 1943 and 1950, Marcuse worked in US government service for the Office of Strategic Services (predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency) where he criticized the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the book Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958). After his studies, in the 1960s and the 1970s he became known as the preeminent theorist of the New Left and the student movements of West Germany, France, and the United States; some consider him the "father of the New Left".
His best known works are Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964). His Marxist scholarship inspired many radical intellectuals and political activists in the 1960s and 1970s, both in the United States and internationally.
Biography Early life Emigration to the United States World War II Post-war The New Left and radical politics Marriages Death
Philosophy and views Marcuse's early "Heideggerian Marxism" Marcuse and capitalism
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Social theory · communism · socialism · industrialism · technology
Technological rationality · great refusal · one- dimensional man · work as free play · repressive tolerance · repressive desublimation · negative thinking · totalitarian democracy
Criticism Legacy Bibliography See also References Further reading External links
Herbert Marcuse was born July 19, 1898, in Berlin, to Carl Marcuse and Gertrud Kreslawsky. His family was Jewish. In 1916 he was drafted into the German Army, but only worked in horse stables in Berlin during World War I. He then became a member of a Soldiers' Council that participated in the aborted socialist Spartacist uprising. He completed his PhD thesis at the University of Freiburg in 1922 on the German Künstlerroman after which he moved back to Berlin, where he worked in publishing. In 1924 he married Sophie Wertheim, a mathematician. He returned to Freiburg in 1928 to study with Edmund Husserl and write a habilitation with Martin Heidegger, which was published in 1932 as Hegel's Ontology and the Theory of Historicity (Hegels Ontologie und die Theorie der Geschichtlichkeit). This study was written in the context of the Hegel renaissance that was taking place in Europe with an emphasis on Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's ontology of life and history, idealist theory of spirit and dialectic. With his academic career blocked by the rise of the Third Reich, in 1933 Marcuse joined the Institute for Social Research, popularly known as the Frankfurt School, in 1932. He went almost at once into exile with them, first briefly in Geneva, then in the United States. Unlike some others, Marcuse did not return to Germany after the war, and when he visited Frankfurt in 1956, the young Jürgen Habermas was surprised to discover that he was a key member of the Institute.
In 1933, Marcuse published his first major review, of Karl Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. In this review, Marcuse revised the interpretation of Marxism, from the standpoint of the works of the early Marx.
While a member of the Institute of Social Research, Marcuse developed a model for critical social theory, created a theory of the new stage of state and monopoly capitalism, described the relationships between philosophy, social theory, and cultural criticism, and provided an analysis and critique of German fascism. Marcuse worked closely with critical theorists while at the institute.
Emigration to the United States
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After emigrating from Germany in 1933, Marcuse immigrated to the United States in 1934, where he became a citizen in 1940. Although he never returned to Germany to live, he remained one of the major theorists associated with the Frankfurt School, along with Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno (among others). In 1940 he published Reason and Revolution, a dialectical work studying G. W. F. Hegel and Karl Marx.
During World War II, Marcuse first worked for the US Office of War Information (OWI) on anti- Nazi propaganda projects. In 1943, he transferred to the Research and Analysis Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Directed by the Harvard historian William L. Langer, the Research and Analysis Branch was in fact the biggest American research institution in the first half of the twentieth century. At its zenith between 1943 and 1945, it comprised over twelve hundred