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Genius of the Modern World

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Bettany Hughes explores the life and works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud in the three part series from the OU and the BBC.

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Bettany Hughes stands in front of the East side of the Berlin Wall. Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The BBC Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud changed the landscape of the modern world. Together they re-imagined global economics; questioned the very foundations of morality and society; and unravelled the workings of the human mind.

The first episode of 'Genius of The Modern World' will be broadcast on BBC Four on Thursday 16th June 2016 at 21.00. Full broadcast details and watch again links can be found on bbc.co.uk.

Episode guide

Nietzsche

Bettany Hughes stands in front of the East side of the Berlin Wall. Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The BBC The 19th century philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche was one of the most brilliant and dangerous minds of the 19th century. His uncompromising and often brutal ideas smashed the comfortable presuppositions and assumptions of religion, morality and science. His was a world not just bereft of God, but almost of humanity – breath-taking in both its post-religious starkness and its originality.

In this episode Bettany will go in search of the beliefs of a man whose work is possibly the most devastatingly manipulated and misinterpreted in philosophical history. Nietzsche’s dislike of systems and of seeking truths left his ideas ambiguous and sometimes incoherent. It was this that made him vulnerable to interpretation, and as a result his thoughts – which warned against the very notion of a political system like totalitarianism – were manipulated to strengthen its ideals. Violently opposed to anti-Semitism throughout his life, his anti-Semitic sister made sure he became the poster boy for Hitler’s drive for an Aryan ideal. Anti-nationalistic he came to symbolise a regime he would have loathed. 

More on Nietzsche's Schooling

 

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Marx In the first episode of 'Genius of the Modern World' we investigate the life and works of Karl Marx. Read more
Nietzsche Bettany Hughes takes us on an exploration of Friedrich Nietzsche's life and works. Read more
Freud In the final episode, Bettany Hughes explores the world of Sigmund Freud. Read more

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