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March 21, 2007: Gerald N. Izenberg

Gerald N. Izenberg

A scholarly interest in what Erik Erikson termed "the identity crisis" led Izenberg, an expert in European intellectual history of the 19th and 20th centuries, to a subspecialty — psychohistory. Psychohistory uses psychological and psychoanalytical theories and methods to provide a more profound understanding of historical personalities and events.

In his book, Impossible Individuality: Romanticism, Revolution, and the Origins of Modern Selfhood, Izenberg adds a psychological dimension to the traditional examination of political, social and cultural developments to show how four major figures of the period — Schlegel, Schleiermacher, Wordsworth, and Chateaubriand — created a modern concept of the self.

In Modernism and Masculinity, Izenberg looks at the role the modern concept of masculinity played among leading European writers and artists of the modernist revolution before World War I. In these books, and in essays such as "The Self in Question" in the academic journal Modern Intellectual History, Izenberg's investigation into the "self" has contributed significantly to this growing body of literature and has placed him among the most accomplished historians of the concept of self in the country.

Public Affairs article: Gerald Izenberg explores a formation of identity for March 21 Assembly Series