on September 24, 2003
In this now classic work, Professor of German Art and Culture Karl Guthke surveys the intellectual history of the plurality of worlds in Western culture, from the ancient Greek rationalists up to the mid-twentieth century. Drawing on original sources in several languages, Guthke deftly analyes the major works about life and intelligence beyond the earth, both in fiction and in scientific speculation. He captures the spirit of each age as its intellectuals confronted the question of whether or not we are alone. He describes the encounter with the alien, as either an enemy or a guardian, as the philosophical and imaginative adventure of modern times; we are exploring the last frontier we can think of. Originally published in German in 1983, the book has been ably translated into English.