This is a grand narrative of the intertwining lives of Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Ernst Cassirer, major philosophers whose ideas shaped the twentieth century.
“Time of the Magicians, Wolfram Eilenberger’s group biography, smoothly translated by Shaun Whiteside, focuses on a decade of crisis in Europe — the interwar period between 1919 and 1929 — and argues compellingly that a small cadre of thinkers responded to their turbulent times by reinventing philosophy, an intellectual task that effectively conjured a new world,” said John Kaag in a review for The New York Times.
“Philosophy is born not of leisure (as Thomas Hobbes once suggested) but of struggle — a spontaneous generation in the midst of personal, political, economic and natural disaster. When it arises, according to Eilenberger, it does so suddenly, originally — as if by magic,” added Kaag.
“Readers drawn to Sarah Bakewell’s best-selling, At the Existentialist Cafe, will appreciate this accessible and deeply human treatment of four thinkers who are notoriously incomprehensible,” said the review.
Eilenberger “tells a gripping story about some of history’s most ambitious and passionate thinkers,” said another review in goodreads.com.