Heidegger's Bicycle

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More About This Title Heidegger's Bicycle


In this book, leading writers and theorists from German history, including Marx, Simmel, Benjamin, and, above all, Heidegger, are unleashed on a range of Victorians with alarming results. The work begins with Tennyson being overshadowed by empire and homosocial tensions and ends with Conan Doyle writing about a bicycle belonging to a character called Heidegger. In between, author Roger Ebbatson makes bone-shaking progress across a Victorian terrain marked out by Thomas Hardy, Richard Jefferies, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Louis Stevenson while considering topics that include shipwrecks, money, nature, the South Seas Mission, and “final solutions.” This unique work shows readers that what the Germans bring to our understanding of the 19th century is a terrible awareness of the darkest moments of the 20th century.


Roger Ebbatson is a visiting professor at Lancaster University. He is the author of several books, including The Evolutionary Self, Landscape and Literature 1830–1914, and Tennyson.


“The reader is likely to be rewarded by Ebbatson’s close attention to textual detail and by his innovative and thought-provoking approach to the analysis of 19th-century literature.”  —Modern Language Review

“In this startling new book Roger Ebbatson adopts the unusual strategy of recycling Victorian writing through the bone-crunching machine of Germanic thought. The results are dramatic, as it quickly becomes clear that Nietzsche is not the only German to “philosophise with a hammer;” it turns out that to reread Victorian literature via Germanic thought is to take a hammer to that literature, to do a kind of a violence to it.”  —John Schad, series editor, Critical Inventions