The year is 1919. Walter Benjamin flees his overbearing father to scrape a living as a critic. Ludwig Wittgenstein signs away his inheritance, seeking spiritual clarity. Martin Heidegger renounces his faith and align his fortunes with Husserl’s phenomenological school. Ernst Cassirer sketches a new schema of human culture on a cramped Berlin tram. The stage is set for a great intellectual drama. Over the next decade, the lives and thought of this quartet will converge and intertwine as each gains world-historical significance, between them remaking philosophy.
Time of the Magicians brings to life this unparalleled burst of intellectual creativity and with it an entire era, from post-war exuberance to economic crisis and the emergence of National Socialism. It becomes an intellectual adventure story, a captivating journey through the greatest revolution in Western thought told through its four protagonists, each with their own penetrating gaze and answer to the question which has animated philosophy from the very beginning: What are we?