Marcuse Family website > Herbert Marcuse homepage
Herbert at FU Berlin, 1968 Herbert in the late 1970s (photo I. Ohlbaum)

Herbert Marcuse
Official Homepage

Marcuse family homepage:

webmaster: Harold Marcuse (Harold's UCSB homepage)
page created March 27, 2001, last updated 9/22/18
1/20/19 new site architecture introduced, page renamed index2018.html

Bold headings link to separate pages italics directly to content pages; regular links jump down on this page.
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Herbert's Hippo
full texts:
  • One Dimen. Man
  • Repressive Toler.
  • Lib. fr. Affl. Soc.
  • End of Utopia
  • Books
    about Marcuse

    Unpublished Papers
    Haters Page

    News, Events and

    & stories
    What's read in courses?

    Student Papers
    & Activists
    Links & Web Pages

    Encyclopedia Entries

    Site News (see also Old News page; current visitor statistics and brand new guestbook [9/24/2017] at bottom)

    • April 2018 announcement: The next Int'l HM Society conference will be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in Oct. 10-13 2019. If you would like to help remotely or on-site with the organization, please contact Harold Marcuse at [email protected]
    • Sept. 21, 2018: Visic 2017, coverAnother new publication added to Books About page, the first about Herbert in Croatian:
      • Maroje Višić, 'Critique and Resistance: Foundations of Herbert Marcuse's Critical Philosophy' [Kritika i otpor: Osnovne crte kritičke filozofije Herberta Marcusea] (Zagreb : Naklada Breza, 2017), 267 pages.
        • Blurb from publisher's webpage (via google translate): 'The purpose of this work is to examine the intellectual legacy of Herbert Marcuse, a once exceptionally influential, and today largely forgotten critical-utopian thinker, fifty years after the first publication of One-Dimensional Man. Marcuse's entire philosophy and genealogy of his thoughts are depicted, with an emphasis on early works in which he established his position, as well as Marcuse's most significant critics, such as MacInytre and Schoolman. In conclusion, the author contemplates the actuality and applicability of Marcuse's philosophy in today's social situation.'
    • Aug. 31, 2018: New publication on Books About page:
      • Renata Bascelli, Bascelli, Radici, coverPer una filosofia concreta. Alle radici del pensiero di Marcuse (Clinamen, 2018), 132 pages. ['For a concrete philosophy. To the roots of Marcuse's thought'](google books; publisher's page)
        Blurb (google translate version): The need for a "concrete philosophy" is the reason that constantly inspires the reflection of Marcuse, from the first writings, which constitute the object of analysis of the present work, up to the works of maturity. And it is in the perspective of that philosophy, in which thinking never appears disjointed from action, which are central concepts such as ideology, truth, utopia, radical action, dialectic, Being, existence, life, need, work, essence, historicity. The author points out how the youthful reflection of Marcuse appears as a result of not marginal Hegelian, Marxian, Diltheyane, Heideggerian influences and at the same time determines the prelude of the original reworking delivered to the texts of clearer notoriety: "Man of One Dimension "; "Eros and civilization".
        The thought of Marcuse, from its origins, in virtue of the lucid vision that characterizes it, can still constitute a lesson for the contemporary world and, more generally, to draw a rationally founded and oriented towards praxis as the only viable path in order to face, and perhaps try to solve, the total crisis that is gripping humanity today.
    • June 20, 2018: many 2017 & 2018 updates added to the Books About page, including:
      • Charles Ecology and Revolution book coverReitz, Ecology and Revolution: Herbert Marcuse and the Challenge of a New World System Today (Critical Interventions)(Routledge, 2018), 208pp. ($40 on amazon)
        • Ecology and Revolution attempts to understand the economic architecture of wealth extraction that undergirds today’s intensifying inequalities of class, race, and gender, within a revolutionary ecological frame. Relying on newly discovered texts from the Frankfurt Marcuse Archive, this book builds theory and practice for an alternate world system. Reitz develops a GreenCommonWealth Counter-Offensive, a strategy for revolutionary ecological liberation with core features of racial equality, gender equality, liberation of labor, restoration of nature, leisure, abundance, and peace.
    • June 9, 2018: On NewsEvents page: Panel discussion at the Linkes Forum in Oldenburg, Germany:
      • "Eine Einladung, Herbert Marcuses Versuch über die Befreiung neu zu diskutieren"
      • The afternoon program started with readings from the book, then three parallel working groups discussed: the text itself, continuity in Marcuse's thought from 1968 to today, and autonomous alternative spaces that help to understand Marcuse's vision [Denkansatz].
      • In the evening representatives from various left and alternative groups joined to discuss the current political relevance of Marcuse's theses. The event flyer offers three suggestions:
        • Why instead of finding the 99% and the practices of dirty coal and the 99% obscene, do we experience tiredness instead? Why do we protest only by calling "be outraged" instead of taking concrete action?
        • Marcuse said New Sensibility would emerge in spaces not bound by alienated work and consumption. Can the idea of a Europe-wide shared "Commons" create such a space?
        • Can the enclaves created by the internal migration of temporary workers to the economic centers of the EU create an ally for the Great Refusal, which is mainly practiced by white youth and students?
    • April 15, 2018: Peter-Erwin Jansen is giving a lecture in Köln in the Deutschlandfunk's Echoes of '68 series : "Die absurde Rationalität des Fortschritts: Herbert Marcuses weitsichtige Technologiekritik."
      • From the announcement: Marcuses "Bemühen galt der Anstrengung des Begriffs und der Kritik, nicht der Parolen. Die Kontinuitat seiner Analysen lässt sich in den folgenden Fragen zusammenfassen: In welchem dialektischen Verhältnis bedingen sich erste und zweite Natur? Wie kann sich aus dem Reich der Notwendigkeit ein Reich der Freiheit entwickeln? Warum wendet sich in den (turbo-) kapitalistischen Gesellschaften eine mögliche sinnvolle Technik in eine ungebremste technologische Dominanz gegen den Menschen? Nichtmehr die "Dialektik der Aufklärung" wirft die großen Fragen von Herrschaft und Unterdrückung auf, sondern die "Dialektik einer auto-poetischen Technologie". Aus dem emphatisch diagnostizierten selbstdenkenden Menschen (Kant) ist längst ein überflussiger (Trojanov) und bald ein nutzloser (Harari) geworden. In diesem Zusammenhang und mit dem Blick auf aktuelle, technische Entwicklungen rekonstruiert der Vortrag einige Überlegungen Marcuses."

    Archived Old News Page (history of this site going back to March 2001)

    Frequently Asked Questions (back to top)

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Do you have photographs of Herbert that Isolde Ohlbaum portrait of Herbert Marcusecan 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 photographs from the 1930s (such as the one in his biography, below, standing next to the old car in Santa Monica) and 1950s (see the header of the Books About page), as well as a number from his 1979 funeral and 2003 burial. There are also a few personal/family snapshots on the Sophie and Ricky pages, but these are not suitable for publications and we would probably not give permission. If you have further questions, ask me: [email protected]
      • Herbert among students, Berlin, 1968A note on the photo of Herbert among students at the Free University of Berlin at right: It was found in 2001 on the Copenhagen Goethe Institute website, from which it has since been removed. The Goethe Institute now has an image from a different vantage point. In 2011 an editor at Yale University Press tracked down the image owner:
        Ullstein bild: Bildnummer: 00003800 - Jung Datum: 01.01.1967 Bildgrösse: 3639x2784 Pixel
        The Ullstein caption dates it as "1967;" it may be May 1968 however.
      • Isolde Ohlbaum's portraits of Herbert are the best commercially available ones on the internet. (See image above right, in this page's header, and 2004 announcements.)
      • The UCSD library's collection has quite a few portraits and images of Herbert (278: most are newspaper clippings). They include 10 "informal" faculty portraits of Herbert in a suit in his office, taken by Gay Crawford on April 2, 1968. He's sitting (in his office presumably) in a shirt, tie and jacket. I like no. 8 with the mischevious smile best. A link for permissions accompanies the photos. The contact for permission to publish those photos (free for non-commercial uses) is:
        • Archives of Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library
          University of California, San Diego
          9500 Gilman Dr #0219
          La Jolla, CA 92093-0219
          Email: [email protected]
        • Other images are held by the
          Mandeville Special Collections Library
          UCSD Libraries 0175S
          9500 Gilman Drive
          La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
          Email: [email protected]
    4. 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.
      • has audio (I'd put a bit more voiced "zz" in the final s), while Allrefer, and Infoplease have pronunciation guides.
      • 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.
    5. 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).

    Biography (back to top)

    Title page of Herbert's 1922 dissertation on "the German artists' novel"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).

    Herbert outside his home in 1937He 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.

    Herbert at UCSD Herbert at a hearing where he testified in behalf of UCSD students. SDHS photo.
    from The Journal of San Diego History
    47:4(2001) (link)
    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.

    See also: biographical timeline on the Berlin German Historical Museum's LEMO site
    (after reworking by Peter-Erwin Jansen it is the most reliable).
    I've also updated the Marcuse Wikipedia page, which now links to A. Buick's excellent narrative biography,
    and Douglas Kellner's detailed intellectual biography.
    See also Theresa MacKey's excellent biography in the Dictionary of Literary Biography (2001).

    For more biographical information about Herbert, see: [back to navbar]

    • Herbert, with cigar, speaking to reporters in the 1960sshort biography Herbert's typescript CV, included in his 1922 dissertationgrandson Harold (the author of this page) prepared for a presentation at a screening of the documentary film Herbert's Hippopotamus in 1997 at UC Santa Barbara, where I teach German history, also digital and public history.
    • Herbert's own typescript Lebenslauf (CV) that was included in his 1922 dissertation at the University of Freiburg. (jpg image; html version; html with English translation; image of title page of dissertation) [from photocopies I made at the University of Freiburg library in the early 1980s]
    • Available only on this site is a Sept. 1970 article by Michael G. Horowitz, "Portrait of the Marxist as an Old Trouper." This "personality profile" of Herbert was written by a former undergraduate student (1963-67) of Herbert's at Brandeis, after Herbert's April 1969 appearance at SUNY Old Westbury. It was published in Sept. 1970 in Playboy  magazine. Highlights: short biography with details about why Herbert left Brandeis, and a description of a meeting with students in 1969. Herbert during a May 1967 lecture at Brandeis
    • ;-)  Of course you were wondering why he was called Marcuse? It's actually a Belgian-French abbreviation: "Mouvement Autonome de Réflexion Critique à l’Usage des survivants de l’Economie" (Autonomous movement of critical reflection for use by survivors of the economy). See this anti-advertising manifesto [2006 version at web archive] by the "Group Marcuse," a group of politically engaged young sociologists, economists, philosophers, historians, psychologists and doctors (according to this review of their 2004 book De la Misere humaine en milieu publicitaire: Comment le monde se meurt de notre mode de vie [Human Misery in Advertising: How the World is Dying of Our Way of Life]).
      • November 2014: the group using this acronym is still active. Near Sivens in France, where a dam was to be constructed, protester Remy Fraisse was killed by a police flash grenade in October 2014. The dam project was scrapped on its lack of merits anyway. See MARCUSE, "Killing for Growth," Posted on [Thanks to Jordan Levinson for the reference, July 2015]
    • This site's Links page has annotated links to the best (and worst) biographical sites and texts available on the web (at least as of ca. 2010).

    A Film about Herbert (back to top) [back to navbar]

    Herbert, looking pensive with students in the background, 1970s

    Permission to publish Herbert's works (back to top)

    • Herbert's letters and papers are held by the Marcuse archive at the City and University Library in Frankfurt, Thumbnail portrait of Peter MarcuseGermany (Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek). Peter-Erwin Jansen can grant permission to scholars to see limited-access materials. (see Nachgelassene Schriften page)
    • Requests to publish any of Herbert's writings should be addressed to Peter Marcuse, Herbert's son, who is the literary executor of Herbert's estate, at [email protected].
    • see Peter's page for the required permissions text, and more information about him

    Other famous Marcuses of Herbert's generation (back to top) [back to navbar]Max Marcuse at an advanced age. Note duelling scars, unusual for Jewish students.

    • The literary scholar Ludwig Marcuse (1894-1971) was, as far as we know, at best a distant relative. See USC's Feuchtwanger library page about him.
    • The renowned sexologist Max Marcuse (1877-1963) may have been Herbert's cousin, according to archivist Haeberle at the Robert-Koch-Institut in Berlin, which maintains a very informative website about Max and other pioneers in the field.
      OCLC: Levy, Amihai.; Ohry, Abraham, "A forgotten giant: Dr Max Marcuse, one of the founders of the science of sexology," in: Adler Museum Bulletin Vol. 11, no. 3 (Nov. 1985).

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    Guest Book for Herbert Marcuse homepage


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