Selected Correspondence (1911-1946) of Karl Mannheim, Scientist, Philosopher and Sociologist

Author: Mannheim, Karl
Karl Mannheim (1893-1974) left his native Hungary in 1919. he lived in Germany and Great Britain, and became a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, later of the University of London. He was an outstanding scientist, philosopher, and sociologist. This book, selections of nearly 300 letters (professional, personal, cultural), show the wide range of European and American thought. They include Mannheim’s dealings with Georg Lukács, Oscar Jászi, Michael Polanyi, Alfred Weber, Leopold von Wiese, Paul Tillich, Siegfried Kracauer, Emil Lederer, Harold Laski, Morris Ginsberg, Herbert Read, Louis Wirth, Edward Shils, and other major figures. The letters originally written in Hungarian and German have been translated into English. This book will interest researchers in philosophy, sociology, and the humanities.


“Karl Mannheim is one of the founders of the sociology of knowledge….This selection provides an invaluable background to the birth and development of his ideas and to his widespread cultural and political influence on contemporary intellectual life.” – Dr. Tihamér Margitay, Budapest University of technology and Economics

"This second edition of Karl Mannheim's selected correspondence comprises 277 letters, an appendix of letters from the early years of exile (1921-1924), and an extensive set of notes by editor Eva Gabor. Mannheim (1893-1947) left his native Hungary in 1919 and moved first to Heidelberg (1920-1930), then to Frankfurt/M. (1930-1933), and finally to London (1933-1947). The 11 early letters from the Budapest period (1911-1919) and about half of the 24 Hungarian letters from Heidelberg were translated for this edition. Unfortunately, 31 German letters from Frankfurt and Heidelberg were not translated. They largely reflect the difficulties of emigration and the search for an appropriate job. The correspondence is unevenly distributed among the four segments, with only 62 letters from the first three periods (14 years), but 216 from the London period (also 14 years). One could reconstruct an intellectual biography from correspondence by tracing the intersection of a person's life course with that of significant others. Apart from content, one could analyze frequency, length, duration, and continuity of exchanges ... All told, the majority of letters deal with practical issues of professional networking, advancing interrupted careers, relocation, and getting one's work published. From this perspective, the letters in the Appendix (pp. 355-79) are particularly touching since they contain Mannheim's necessarily contradictory impressions of, and generalizations about, exile in Germany. He writes in a 1924 letter from Heidelberg: "It is impossible to get used to being foreigners here. The heart of every emigrant wants to go home" (p. 378). It sums up the tragedy of exile and the challenge of turning displacement and exclusion into a creative conquest of boundaries." - Contemporary Sociology

"... recommended to the historian of ideas, to those interested in the sociology of knowledge, and also for those who want to know about the interesting destiny of a Eas-European intellectual in XXth century." -- Endre Nagy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword; Introduction
The Letters
Appendix; Index