This page celebrates the life and work of Thesis Eleven friend, colleague and collaborator Harry Redner. Below you will find obituaries, excerpts, unpublished works and Thesis Eleven book reviews of Harry’s work. Many thanks to Jill Redner and David Roberts for making this project possible. Vale Harry!
Harry Redner was long a friend and associate of Thesis Eleven. Indeed, one could say that he was one of the journal’s spiritual fathers. Along with Alistair Davidson and Zawar Hanfi in the Department of Politics at Monash University, he was one of the teachers of its founding editors, Peter Beilharz and Julian Triado. It is therefore only fitting that we should respond to Harry’s sudden unexpected death in September 2021 by paying a first tribute to his life’s work with the aim of giving readers some indication of the breadth and depth of his original contributions to the philosophy, science, politics and culture of European modernity.
We start with obituaries from colleagues of Harry at Monash, followed by reviews of his work published in Thesis Eleven, which are complemented by an early review from Gernot Böhme, who was working on a review of Harry’s Ethical Life for this commemoration when he too died suddenly in January 2022 (see the photos of Gernot and Harry at the conference on ‘Ethics in Practice’ they jointly convened in Darmstadt in July 1998), and by Professor Miguel Candel Sanmartin’s evaluation of Harry’s last book, Quintessence of Dust. The Science of Matter and the Philosophy of Mind. This section concludes with Jill Redner’s reconstruction of Harry’s intellectual trajectory across his entire oeuvre together with a list of his publications.
When Harry died he had just completed a final trilogy of books. In the last section on his unpublished work, I have written a short introduction to the trilogy in order to set the context for the following extracts from the three books. They were chosen not only for their intrinsic interest but also in order to illustrate the cross-disciplinary scope of Harry’s conception of the task of the scholar and intellectual today.
Harry Redner, Colleague – Denis White
Vale Harry Redner, Friend – Alastair Davidson
Harry Redner, Teacher – Peter Beilharz
Harry Redner, Scholar – David Roberts
Harry Redner, The Ends of Science: An Essay in Scientific Authority (Westview Press, 1987) – Reviewed by Gernot Böhme (translated by Joachim Redner)
Harry Redner, Quintessence of Dust: The Science of Matter and the Philosophy of Mind (Brill, 2020) – Reviewed by Miguel Candel Sanmartin
Thesis Eleven Reviews
Harry Redner, A New Science of Representation: Towards an Integrated Theory of Representation in Science, Politics and Art (Westview Press, 1994) – Reviewed by Paul Corcoran
Harry Redner, Aesthetic Life: The Past and Present of Artistic Cultures (University Press of America, 2007) – Reviewed by David Roberts
Harry Redner, Beyond Civilization: Society, Culture and the Individual in the Age of Globalization (Transaction, 2014) – Reviewed by Julian J. Potter
Harry Redner, The Tragedy of European Civilisation: Towards an Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Transaction, 2015) – Reviewed by Krishan Kumar
Harry Redner, The Triumph and Tragedy of the Intellectuals: Evil, Enlightenment and Death (Transaction, 2016) – Reviewed by Greg Melleuish
Literacy and Civilization (Comprehensive review of Harry’s social theory) – by Peter Murphy
Unpublished works: Three Extracts
Introduction to three new works – by David Roberts
‘West and East’ (from Politics, Ethics and Culture in our Time: A Post-Civilizational Perspective, Brill, forthcoming)
‘Theorybabble’ (from The Humanities, the Social Sciences and the University: A Study in Knowledge Production, Routledge, forthcoming)
‘The Birth of Science’ (from Art and Science: A Parallel History, forthcoming)
‘Harry Redner – Pursuing Philosophy as a Vocation’ by Jill Redner
Selected list of publications (compiled by Jill Redner)
Harry Redner has published 16 books and over 30 major articles in edited volumes and leading journals in the USA, England and France. These books and articles cover many fields of study, including most of the Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as the sociology of the Natural Sciences. Only the books will be listed.
In the Beginning was the Deed: Reflections on the Passage of Faust, (University of California Press, Berkeley), pp. 340.
Anatomy of the World, co-authored with Jill Redner, (Collins/Fontana, Melbourne), pp. 368.
The Ends of Philosophy: An Essay in the Sociology of Philosophy and Rationality, (Croom Helm, England and Rowman and Allenheld, USA), pp. 430.
The Ends of Science: An Essay in Scientific Authority, (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado), pp. 350.
An Heretical Heir of the Enlightenment: Science, Politics and Policy in the Work of C.E. Lindblom, edited by Harry Redner and containing two essays by Harry Redner, (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado), pp. 378.
A New Theory of Representation: Towards an Integrated Theory of Representation in Science, Politics and Art, (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado), pp. 486.
Malign Masters: Gentile, Heidegger, Lukács, Wittgenstein, (Macmillan, London and St Martins, New York), pp. 220.
Ethical Life: The Past and Present of Ethical Cultures, (Rowman and Littlefield, New Jersey), pp. 348. German translation by Helmut Dahmer appeared in 2006 under the title: Wie kann man moralisch lebel: Geschichte und Gegenwart ethischer Kulturen, (Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart), pp. 405.
Conserving Cultures: Technology, Globalization and the Future of Local Cultures
(Rowman and Littlefield, New Jersey), pp. 241.
Aesthetic Life: The Past and Present of Artistic Cultures
(American University Press, New Jersey), pp. 500.
Beyond Civilization: Society, Culture and the Individual in the Age of Globalization, (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London), pp. 395.
Totalitarianism, Globalization, Colonialism: The Destruction of Civilization since 1914, (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London), pp. 331.
The Tragedy of European Civilization: Towards an Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century, (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London), pp. 257.
The Triumph and Tragedy of the Intellectuals: Evil, Enlightenment and Death, (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London), pp. 309.
Ulysses and Faust: Tradition and Modernism from Homer till the Present, (Routledge, New York & London), pp. 293.
Quintessence of Dust: The Science of Matter and the Philosophy of Mind, (Brill Rodopi, Leiden & Boston), pp. 386.
NB: Articles and contributions to edited volumes are too numerous to include. However, the two most recent are as follows:
Harry Redner, “Anatomy of a Cultural Revolution; Modernism and its Vicissitudes” in Magerski, C and Roberts, D. Kulturrebellen – Studien zur anarchistischen Moderne. (Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2019), pp. 3-20.
Harry Redner, “Dialectics of Classicism: The Origin of Nazism from the Spirit of Music” in Thesis Eleven: Critical Theory and Historical Sociology, No 151, April, 2019.