History of Islam in German Thought
From Leibniz to Nietzsche
By Ian Almond
Routledge – 2009 – 216 pages
This concise overview of the perception of Islam in eight of the most important German thinkers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries allows a new and fascinating investigation of how these thinkers, within their own bodies of work, often espoused contradicting ideas about Islam and their nearest Muslim neighbors. Exploring a variety of 'neat compartmentalizations' at work in the representations of Islam, as well as distinct vocabularies employed by these key intellectuals (theological, political, philological, poetic), Ian Almond parses these vocabularies to examine the importance of Islam in the very history of German thought. Almond further demonstrates the ways in which German philosophers such as Hegel, Kant, and Marx repeatedly ignored information about the Muslim world that did not harmonize with the particular landscapes they were trying to paint – a fact which in turn makes us reflect on what it means when a society possesses 'knowledge' of a foreign culture.
'This is the book about German Orientalism I felt I could not and did not want to write, and I am very grateful to Ian Almond for having produced it.' -- Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University, USA
Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. Leibniz, Historicism and the Plague of Islam. 2. Kant, Islam and the Preservation of Boundaries. 3. Herder's Arab Fantasies. 4. Keeping the Turks out of Islam: Goethe's Ottoman Plan. 5. Friedrich Schlegel and the Emptying of Islam. 6. Hegel and the Disappearance of Islam. 7. Marx the Moor. 8. Nietzsche’s Peace with Islam. Conclusion. References. Index.
Ian Almond is Assistant Professor of English Literature at Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey, and has taught courses on the representation of Islam in the Western tradition at a number of universities including the University of Edinburgh, the Freie Universitat (Berlin), and the Universita di Bari (Italy). He is author of three books -- Sufism and Deconstruction (Routledge, 2004), The New Orientalists (2007), and a military history of Muslim-Christian alliances, Two Faiths, One Banner (2008).