Geistesgeschichte (from German Geist, "spirit" [here connoting the metaphysical realm, in contradistinction to the material], and Geschichte, "history", "science") is a concept in the history of ideas denoting the branch of study concerned with the undercurrents of cultural manifestations, within the history of a people, that are peculiar to a specific timeframe. It is a largely untranslatable term, sometimes translated as "intellectual history"[1][2] or "history of ideas",[3][4] and sometimes used synonymously with Problemgeschichte. The branch of study it denotes is often seen as having been inspired by the type of work done by Wilhelm Dilthey and his followers.


  1. Fugmann, Nicole. 1997. "Contemporary Editorial Theory and the Transvaluation of Postmodern Critique." Text 10: 15–30, p. 22.
  2. Bontempelli, Pier Carlo. 2004. Knowledge, Power, and Discipline: German Studies and National Identity. Transl. Gabriele Poole. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, p. 69.
  3. Crossley, Paul. 1997. "Introduction." Peter Draper (ed.), Reassessing Nikolaus Pevsner, (pp. 1–28). Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, p. 6.
  4. Strelka, Joseph. "On German Geistesgeschichte and Its Impact on Comparative Literature." François Jost (ed.), Aesthetics and the Literature of Ideas, (pp. 44–52) . Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, p. 45.

See also

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