A Twentieth-Century Prophet: Oscaar Jaaszi, 1875-1957

A Twentieth-Century Prophet: Oscaar Jaaszi, 1875-1957

A Twentieth-Century Prophet: Oscaar Jaaszi, 1875-1957

A Twentieth-Century Prophet: Oscaar Jaaszi, 1875-1957

Synopsis

"This volume represents the first ever extensive biography of Oscar Jaszi, historian, political theorist and sociologist, who dedicated his tremendous intellect to modern democracy in Hungary. A man exiled from his homeland, Jaszi's moral courage stood strong against the political tyranny and totalitarianism of the interwar period that nearly destroyed Hungary's political and social foundations. From his early years as co-founder and editor of the influential Hungarian periodical "Twentieth Century" to his later life as professor at Oberlin College in Ohio, he worked tirelessly for the values of liberalism and humanism, fused with the notion that "a new moral, social, and economic synthesis is needed."" "In this work, the details of Jaszi's life reveal the poignant tragedies and accomplishments that befit a man who refused to compromise his intellectual and moral beliefs, even as he witnessed the dismemberment of his country, two world wars, and the rise of radical ideologies. What was at stake was no less than the very spirit of democracy and intellectual freedom. In this sense, the life of Oscar Jaszi represents one of the great triumphs of reason over violence, regardless of the defeat of his vision for a 'Danubian Federation,' and his subsequent exile. His vow to not be buried in an undemocratic Hungary was kept, and as his country emerged from the ruins of the Soviet block, his remains were transferred to Budapest in 1991, a symbol of his lasting philosophy and the spirit of his will." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

In January 1900, the 24-year-old Oscar Jászi, together with a young group of friends and colleagues, launched a new periodical which bore the programmatic title Huszadik Század (Twentieth Century). This first scholarly review of sociology and political science in Hungary was founded to deal with the problems of the new century, above all the questions of modernization and democratization of the multinational kingdom of Hungary. These central problems were to be what Jászi devoted his entire life to, not just as editor of the review over the next two decades but were to represent his life and work over the next fifty-odd years of upheavals and ruptures, a notable thread of continuity in a century of unprecedented change. He wrestled untiringly with the social, political, ethical and scientific challenges of his time. the twentieth century was torn between individualism and collectivism, capitalism and socialism, democracy and dictatorship, reform and revolution, reason and violence, modernization and tradition, nationalism and internationalism, but while it lurched between extremes Jászi was able to formulate a balanced view of the issues from a position of ethical politics, weighing both sides of problems and often rejecting all the usual solutions. He may have seemed to emerge from those engagements on the losing side, yet time and time again he subsequently—often tragically—proved to have been correct.

Jászi’s long life and career was divided almost evenly between Europe and America. He spent the first half of his active and public life (1895–1925) in Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia, the second . . .

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