Basel, Switzerland, Burckhardt
"Monotonie sans egale" or sanctuary for "unbridled thinkers"?
Being human and prone to forming first impressions, this reviewer glanced at the full title of the text under review, and saw red flags rising. First, in the spirit of full disclosure, this non-Swiss reviewer has only "visited" Basel once: an unpleasant-and unexpected-wintry layover courtesy of a French rail strike. Second, seeing "unseasonable ideas" in the same title as anyone other than Nietzsche raises one's hackles. Third, while the works of Burckhardt enjoy renewed interest among art historians and publishers, he remains largely ignored by "new" cultural and intellectual historians and humanists fault him for his re-introduction of the term "renaissance." Within a few pages, however, the reader soon realizes that Burckhardt and Basel have been misunderstood and that Professor Gossman has tapped into a critical lineage extending back through Burckhardt to Montaigne and Erasmus.
"Review: Lionel Gossman, Basel in the Age of Burckhardt. A Study in Unseasonable Ideas,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 37:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol37/iss2/6