Robert Eisler and the Magic of the Combinatory Mind
Robert Eisler, the polymathic Jewish Austrian scholar and Holocaust survivor, faded into obscurity after his death in 1949. A contemporary and associate of Walter Benjamin, Aby Warburg, and Gershom Scholem, Eisler spent his early years in fin-de-siecle Vienna and trained as an art historian and economist. In this book, the first in English devoted to Eisler's life and thought, Brian Collins takes us through the development of Eisler's ideas about the philosophy of values, comparative mythology, Christianity, psychoanalysis, monetary policy, and anthropology. Collins also explores the bizarre and sometimes tragic events that defined Eisler's life, including his arrest for art theft in 1907, his controversial reconstruction of a physical description of Jesus, and the fifteen months he spent in Dachau and Buchenwald, the inspiration for his final book, Man into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism, and Lycanthropy.