The Decline of the West

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Cover of Decline of the West

The Decline of the West or The Downfall of the Occident (the original German title was Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first part being published in 1917 and the second in 1918. It has been translated into multiple languages since its first publication in German. The work deals with a theory of cycles through which civilizations undergo and what the causes of decline and death are. As evidenced by its title, it predicts that what is known as Western civilization is declining and will soon die. The book has had international influence and even those who did not agree with many of its main ideas found it to contain valuable philosophical concepts.


  • Volume I: Form and Actuality
    • Translator's Note
    • Author's Preface
    • Introduction
    • The Meaning of Numbers
    • The Problem of World-History. (1) Physiognomic and Systematic
    • The Problem of World-History. (2) The Destiny-Idea and the Causality-Principle
    • Makrokosmos. (1) The Symbolism of the World-Picture and the Problem of Space
    • Makrokosmos. (2) Apollinian, Fuastian, and Magian Soul
    • Music and Plastic. (1) The Arts of Form
    • Music and Plastic. (2) Act and Portrait
    • Soul-Image and Life-Feeling. (1) On the Form of the Soul
    • Soul-Image and Life-Feeling. (2) Buddhism, Stoicism, and Socialism
    • Faustian and Apollinian Nature-Knowledge
  • Volume II: Perspectives of World-History
    • Translator's Note
    • References from Volume 1
    • Origin and Landscape. (A) The Cosmic and the Microcosm
    • Origin and Landscape. (B) The Group of the Higher Cultures
    • Origin and Landscape. (C) The Relations Between the Cultures
    • Cities and Peoples. (A) The Soul of the City
    • Cities and Peoples. (B) Peoples, Races, Tongues
    • Cities and Peoples. (C) Primitives, Culture-Peoples, Fellaheen
    • The Problems of the Arabian Culture. (A) Historic Pseudomorphoses
    • The Problems of the Arabian Culture. (B) The Magian Soul
    • The Problems of the Arabian Culture. (C) Pythagoras, Mohammed, Cromwell
    • The State. (A) The Problem of the Estates: Nobility and Priesthood
    • The State. (B) State and History
    • The State. (C) Philosophy of Politics
    • The Form-World of Economic Life. (A) Money
    • The Form-World of Economic Life. (B) The Machine

Publication Data

Spengler, Oswald. The Decline of the West (Vol. 1, "Form and Actuality"; Vol. 2, "Perspectives of World History"). New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926 and 1928. ASIN B0016511PQ

See also

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