Invisible Cathedrals

The Expressionist Art History of Wilhelm Worringer

Edited by Neil H. Donahue

Paperback - £24.95

Publication date:

15 April 1995

Length of book:

232 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271030494

Invisible Cathedrals places Wilhelm Worringer in the foreground of discussions of Expressionism and German Modernism for the first time. These essays not only reveal the complexities of his individual works, such as Abstraction and Empathy (1908) and Form Problems of the Gothic (1911), they also examine his lesser-known books and essays of the post-World War I years, the 1920s, and beyond.

Invisible Cathedrals offers both a basic introduction to Worringer's writings and their broad influence, and a profound and detailed revisionist analysis of his significance in German and European Modernism. It also provides the most comprehensive bibliography to date of his own work and of the scattered criticism devoted to Worringer in different disciplines.

Worringer's works were provocative, widely read, and often reprinted and were highly influential among artists and writers in Germany. As a result, they both raised suspicion in his own academic discipline of art history and excited discussion in other diverse fields, such as literary and social theory, psychology, and film theory. Worringer emerges here not solely as a scholarly commentator on the history of art, but also as an activist scholar who engaged his historical criticism of other periods directly in the production of culture in his own time.

Contributors are Magdalena Bushart, Neil H. Donahue, Charles W. Haxthausen, Michael W. Jennings, Joseph Masheck, Geoffrey Waite, and Joanna E. Ziegler.

“Wilhelm Worringer’s work is of great interest to scholars concerned with Modernism and to everyone interested in German intellectual history. Providing a variety of perspectives on a difficult writer, these essays convincingly make a case not only for the historical value of Worringer’s writings but also for the continuing relevance of his ideas to present-day art historians and cultural critics.”

—David Carrier, Carnegie Mellon University