Herbert MarcuseHerbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse Official Homepage


The 2019 Int'l Herbert Marcuse Society Conference will take place Oct 10-12, 2019 at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

What's New

2019-09-18 article New article: Political Positivism and Political Existentialism. Revisiting Herbert Marcuse Koutsogiannis, Alex
2019-09-05 paper Portuguese translation of 1960 article "From Ontology to Technology" Portuguese
2019-03-03 mention Der Tagesspiegel Interview with Peter and Harold Marcuse burial Marcuse, Peter Marcuse, Harold
2019-03-02 booksabout New book: Routledge Companion to the Frankfurt School Frankfurt School
2019-03-01 booksabout Dissonância special issue on Herbert Marcuse (in Portuguese) Portuguese Abromeit, John D. Nobre, Marcos
2019-02-25 paper Notes on Philosophy: reprint on 1963 essay in the Brandeis yearbook Brandeis
2019-01-20 booksabout New Anthology about One-Dimensional Man 50 Years On (2017) One-Dimensional Man Maley,Terry
2019 conference Announcing the 2019 Int'l Herbert Marcuse Society Conference hmsociety upcoming conferences
Oct 10-13, 2019 in Santa Barbara, CA. Call for papers due May 1st.
2018-09-21 booksabout New book in Croatian by Maroje Višić: Critique and Resistance Croatian Višić, Maroje
2018-08-31 booksabout New book in Italian by Renata Bascelli: For a concrete philosophy Italian Bascelli, Renata
2018-06-10 booksabout New book by Charles Reitz: Ecology and Revolution Reitz, Charles
2018-06-09 panel Panel discussion of "Attempt at Liberation" at Linkes Forum Linkes Forum
2018-04-15 lecture Lecture by Peter-Erwin Jansen: The absurd rationality of progress Jansen, Peter-Erwin
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Biography

Herbert Marcuse was born in Berlin on July 19, 1898. After completing his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Freiburg in 1922, he moved to Berlin, where he worked in the book trade. He returned to Freiburg in 1929 to write a habilitation (professor's dissertation) with Martin Heidegger. In 1933, since he would not be allowed to complete that project under the Nazis, Herbert began work at the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research, a Marxist-oriented think-tank (as we might say today).

He emigrated from Germany that same year, going first to Switzerland, then the United States, where he became a citizen in 1940. During World War II he worked for the US Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA), analyzing intelligence reports about Germany (1942-45-51). In 1952 Herbert began a university teaching career as a political theorist, first at Columbia and Harvard, then at Brandeis from 1954 to 1965, and finally (already retirement-age), at the University of California, San Diego.

His critiques of capitalist society (especially his 1955 synthesis of Marx and Freud, Eros and Civilization, and his 1964 book One-Dimensional Man) resonated with the concerns of the leftist student movement in the 1960s. Because of his willingness to engage seriously with (and support) student protesters, Herbert soon became known as "the father of the new left" (a term he disliked and rejected). He had many speaking engagements in the US and Europe in the late 1960s and in the 1970s. He died on July 29, 1979, after suffering a stroke during a visit to Germany.

Books

1941 Reason and Revolution - An Introduction to the Dialectical Thinking of Hegel and Marx
1955 Eros and Civilization - A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud
1965 One-Dimensional Man - Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
1969 An Essay on Liberation
1972 Counterrevolution and Revolt
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Frequently Asked Questions

Where are Herbert's papers?

  • Herbert's letters and papers are held by the Marcuse archive at the Archivzentrum of the University Library in Frankfurt, Germany (Universitätsbibliothek). Peter-Erwin Jansen, the publisher of Herbert's papers in German, who lives in Frankfurt, can grant permission to scholars to see limited-access materials. (For more information on Peter-Erwin, see the Nachgelassene Schriften page.)
  • 2013 note: several important collections of primary and secondary materials are becoming available in the US (such as the manuscript of One-Dimensional Man at Brandeis), and we are seeking to establish an archive or study center here as well.
    Update 2015: Progress on creating an archive at Brandeis is well underway.

How can I obtain permission to publish some of Herbert's writings?

  • Usually from the previous publisher. For hitherto unpublished materials, see the information on Herbert's son Peter's page. Peter is the literary executor.

Do you have photographs of Herbert that be used for a publication, conference announcement, etc?

  • Most photos on this site are scanned from various publications, or are from nebulous internet sources, and we cannot offer rights to them.
  • We do have a few personal/family snapshots, but these are not suitable for publications and we would probably not give permission. If you have further questions, please email me: [email protected].

How did Herbert pronounce "Marcuse"?

  • I'd write it phonetically (in US-English) [mahr KOO zeh], with the emphasis on the middle syllable. That is the standard German pronunciation.
  • As a member of Herbert's son Peter's family, we grew up in the US with an anglicized pronunciation (which you'd hear on my answering machine, phonetically [mar KYOOSS] (with the 'oo' long as in the word root) and the emphasis on the second syllable.

Are we related?

  • Although Marcuse is by no means a common name, there are many thousands of us. Some years ago the city of Berlin had a web site listing the names of the city's Jewish citizens who were murdered under the Nazis. There were 144 "Marcuses" on it, only a few of whom were related to Herbert.
  • I don't do genealogical research, and don't have a reliable family tree to check. The best I can offer is the information on this site's page about Herbert's father Carl Marcuse. We know that Carl had siblings, but not who they were. We've been told that the sexologist Max Marcuse (1877-1963) was Herbert's cousin, whereas the literary scholar Ludwig Marcuse (1894-1971) was unrelated, as was the character actor Theo Marcuse (1920-1967).
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