THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY (Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, 1899) is a book by British-born Germanophile Houston Stewart Chamberlain . In the book, Chamberlain advances various racialist and especially völkisch antisemitic theories on how he saw the Aryan race as superior to others, and the Teutonic peoples as a positive force in European civilization and the Jews as a negative one. It was his best-selling book.
* 1 Synopsis * 2 Reception * 3 Publishing history * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 External links
Published in German, the book focuses on the controversial notion that Western civilization is deeply marked by the influence of the Teutonic peoples. Chamberlain grouped all European peoples—not just Germans, but Celts , Slavs , Greeks , and Latins —into the "Aryan race ", a race built on the ancient Proto-Indo-European culture. At the helm of the Aryan race, and, indeed, all races, he saw the Nordic or Teutonic peoples.
Certain anthropologists would fain teach us that all races are equally gifted; we point to history and answer: that is a lie! The races of mankind are markedly different in the nature and also in the extent of their gifts, and the Germanic races belong to the most highly gifted group, the group usually termed Aryan... Physically and mentally the Aryans are pre-eminent among all peoples; for that reason they are by right ... the lords of the world. Do we not see the homo syriacus develop just as well and as happily in the position of slave as of master? Do the Chinese not show us another example of the same nature?
Chamberlain's book focused on the claim that the Teutonic peoples
were the heirs to the empires of Greece and Rome, something which
Building somewhat on the theories of de Gobineau and Georges Vacher
de Lapouge (1854-1936), Chamberlain developed a relatively complex
theory relating racial origins, physical features and cultural traits.
According to Chamberlain, the modern Jew (Homo judaeica) mixes some of
the features of the Hittite (H. syriaca) – notably the "Jewish nose
", retreating chin, great cunning and fondness for usury – and of
the true Semite , the
All historically great races and nations have been produced by
mixing; but wherever the difference of type is too great to be bridged
over, then we have mongrels. That is the case here. The crossing
Chamberlain also considered the Berbers from North Africa as belonging to the Aryan race.
The noble Moor of Spain is anything but a pure Arab of the desert, he is half a Berber (from the Aryan race) and his veins are so full of Gothic blood that even at the present day noble inhabitants of Morocco can trace their descent back to Teutonic ancestors.
Chamberlain (who had graduate training in biology), rejected
Darwinism , evolution and social
Darwinism and instead emphasized
"gestalt", which (he said) derived from
Chamberlain used an old biblical notion of the ethnic make up of
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The Foundations sold extensively: eight editions and 60,000 copies within ten years, 100,000 copies by the outbreak of World War I and 24 editions and more than a quarter of a million copies by 1938. The Russian translation was especially popular and was carried by White Russians all the way to Siberia.
The 1911 translation received positive reviews in most of the British
press. It was praised in
The Spectator as "a monument of erudition";
The book was important to
The U.S. Library of Congress owns and lists six distinct editions or imprints of this text for the following years: 1911, 1912, 1913 (two), 1968, and 2005.
* ^ "
Library of Congress LCCN Permalink for a11000252".
lccn.loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
* ^ Foundations. p. 542.
* ^ Foundations. p. 394.
* ^ Foundations. p. 374.
* ^ Foundations. p. 389.
* ^ Foundations. p. 398.
* ^ See Anne Harrington, Reenchanted Science: Holism in German