Peter Gay

Peter Gay

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Peter Gay is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 and former director of the New York Public Library
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is the largest public library in North America and is one of the United States' most significant research libraries...

's Center for Scholars and Writers (1997–2003). Gay received the American Historical Association
American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials...

's (AHA) Award for Scholarly Distinction in 2004. He is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 winner The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (1969), the best-selling Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider, (1968), and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time. (1988)

Peter Gay was born in Berlin, Germany in 1923 and emigrated to the United States in 1941. He received his BA from the University of Denver in Colorado in 1946, and his MA and Ph.D from Columbia University in 1947 and 1951, respectively. He studied for one year at University College, London. He has also been recognized with several honorary doctorates. From 1962 to 1969 he was Professor of History at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. He joined Yale University’s History Department as Professor of Comparative and Intellectual European History in 1969, and was named Sterling Professor of History in 1984.

According to the American Historical Association's Award Citation, Gay's range of "scholarly achievements is truly remarkable". His 1959 book, Voltaire's Politics examined Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 as a politician and how his politics influenced the ideas that Voltaire championed in his writings. Gay followed the success of Voltaire's Politics with a wider history of the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (1969), for which he was honored with the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in 1967 and the Mecher Book Prize. Gay's 1968 book, Weimar Culture was considered at the time to be a ground-breaking cultural history
Cultural history
The term cultural history refers both to an academic discipline and to its subject matter.Cultural history, as a discipline, at least in its common definition since the 1970s, often combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural...

 of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

. Starting in 1978 with Freud, Jews and Other Germans, an examination of the impact of Freudian ideas on German culture, Gay has become increasingly interested in psychology. Many of his works focus on the social impact of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

. Gay is a leading champion of Psychohistory
Psychohistory
Psychohistory is the study of the psychological motivations of historical events. It attempts to combine the insights of psychotherapy with the research methodology of the social sciences to understand the emotional origin of the social and political behavior of groups and nations, past and present...

 and an admirer of Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

.

Life


Born in 1923 as Peter Joachim Fröhlich in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Gay and his family fled from Nazi Germany in 1939 and arrived in America in 1941. In Berlin he was educated at the Goethe-Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

. His family initially booked passage on the MS St. Louis (whose passengers were eventually denied visas) but fortuitously changed their booking to an earlier voyage to Cuba. He came to the United States in 1941 and took American citizenship in 1946 where he changed his name from Fröhlich (German for "happy") to Gay. Gay received his education at the University of Denver
University of Denver
The University of Denver is currently ranked 82nd among all public and private "National Universities" by U.S. News & World Report in the 2012 rankings....

, where he was awarded a BA in 1946 and at Columbia University where he was awarded an MA in 1947 and PhD in 1951. Gay worked as political science professor at Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 between 1948–1955 and as history professor from 1955-1969. He taught at Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 from 1969 until his retirement in 1993. He was married to Ruth Slotkin (died 2006) in 1959 and has three stepchildren.

Awards


Peter Gay has received numerous awards for his scholarship, including the National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in the category of History and Biography for The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: Vol. I, The Rise of Modern Paganism (1966); the first Amsterdam Prize for Historical Science from The Hague, 1990; and the Gold Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1992. In addition, he was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1967–68 and in 1978–79, a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, Germany, and an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College University from 1970 to 1971. In 1988, he was honored by The New York Public Library as a Library Lion. The following year, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Professor Gay held an ACLS Fellowship in 1959–60.
  • AHA Award for Scholarly Distinction.
  • Jewish Distinction Award
  • Civil Rights Awareness Award (Presented by the NAACP)
  • Geschwister-Scholl-Preis
    Geschwister-Scholl-Preis
    The Geschwister-Scholl-Preis is a literary prize which was initiated in 1980 by the State Association of Bavaria in the Stock Market Society of the German Book Trade and the city of Munich...

    (Munich
    Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

    , 1999)

Books

  • The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism: Eduard Bernstein
    Eduard Bernstein
    Eduard Bernstein was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, a member of the SPD, and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism.- Life :...

    's Challenge to Marx
    , 1952.
  • Voltaire
    Voltaire
    François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

    's Politics: The Poet as Realist
    , 1959.
  • The Party of Humanity: Essays in the French Enlightenment, 1964.
  • The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: The Rise of Modern Paganism
    Paganism
    Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

    , 1966. - Winner of the 1967 National Book Award in History and Biography
  • The Loss of Mastery: Puritan
    Puritan
    The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

     Historians in Colonial America
    Colonial America
    The colonial history of the United States covers the history from the start of European settlement and especially the history of the thirteen colonies of Britain until they declared independence in 1776. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major...

    , 1966.
  • Weimar
    Weimar
    Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

     Culture: The Outsider as Insider
    , 1968.
  • Deism: An Anthology, 1968.
  • The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: The Science of Freedom, 1969.
  • The Bridge of Criticism: Dialogues on the Enlightenment, 1970.
  • Historians at Work, 1972.
  • co-written with R.K. Webb, Modern Europe, 1973.
  • The Enlightenment; A Comprehensive Anthology, 1973.
  • Style in History, 1974.
  • Art and Act: On Causes in History—Manet
    Manet
    -MANET as an abbreviation:*MANET is a mobile ad hoc network, a self-configuring mobile wireless network.*MANET database or Molecular Ancestry Network, bioinformatics database-People with the surname Manet:*Édouard Manet, a 19th-century French painter....

    , Gropius
    Gropius
    Gropius is a German surname. It may refer to:* The Gropius Brothers: Ferdinand Gropius and George Gropius , publishers and managers of a Diorama in Berlin* Walter Gropius , architect...

    , Mondrian
    Piet Mondrian
    Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

    , 1976.
  • Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture, 1978.
  • Education of the Senses, 1984.
  • The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria
    Victoria of the United Kingdom
    Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

     to Freud
    - 5 vols, 1984-1998 (includes The Education of the Senses and The Cultivation of Hatred)
  • Freud for Historians, 1985.
  • The Tender Passion, 1986.
  • A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism
    Atheism
    Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

    , and the Making of Psychoanalysis
    Psychoanalysis
    Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

    , 1987.
  • Freud: A Life for Our Time, 1988. - Finalist for the National Book Award
  • Editor A Freud Reader, 1989.
  • Reading Freud: Explorations & Entertainments, 1990.
  • Sigmund Freud and Art: His Personal Collection of Antiquities, 1993.
  • The Cultivation of Hatred, 1993.
  • The Naked Heart, 1995.
  • The Enlightenment and the Rise of Modern Paganism revised edition, 1995.
  • Pleasure Wars, 1998.
  • My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

    , 1998 (autobiography).
  • Mozart, 1999.
  • Schnitzler
    Schnitzler
    There have been several people named Schnitzler :* Barbara Schnitzler , a German actress * Claude Schnitzler , an Alsatian-French organist * Conrad Schnitzler * Dierk H...

    's Century
    , 2002.
  • Modernism
    Modernism
    Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

    : The Lure of Heresy
    Heresy
    Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

    , 2007.