This accessible and highly readable book is the first full-length biography of Hegel to be published since the largely outdated treatments of the nineteenth century. Althaus draws on new historical material and scholarly sources about the life and times of this most enigmatic and influential of modern philosophers. He paints a living portrait of a thinker whose personality was more complex than is often imagined, and shows that Hegel’s relation to his revolutionary times was also more ambiguous than is usually accepted.
Althaus presents a broad chronological narrative of Hegel’s development from his early theological studies in Tübingen and the associated unpublished writings, profoundly critical of the established religious orthodoxies. He traces Hegel’s years of philosophical apprenticeship with Schelling in Jena as he struggled for an independent intellectual position, up to the crowning period of influence and success in Berlin where Hegel appeared as the advocate of the modern Prussian state. Althaus tells a vivid story of Hegel’s life and his intellectual and personal crises, drawing generously on the philosopher’s own words from his extensive correspondence. His central role in the cultural and political life of the time is illuminated by the impressions and responses of his contemporaries, such as Schelling, Schleiermacher and Goethe.
This panoramic introduction to Hegel’s life, work and times will be a valuable resource for scholars, students and anyone interested in this towering figure of philosophy.