Ernst Kantorowicz

Institute events and some unpublished writings of a towering twentieth-century intellectual

In this video, Robert E. Lerner, Professor Emeritus of History at Northwestern University and former Member in the School of Historical Studies, draws upon his recently published biography of Ernst Kantorowicz to tell the story of a major intellectual whose life and times were as fascinating as his work, and whose legacy is so closely bound to the Institute. The book is the first complete biography of Ernst Kantorowicz (1895–1963), an influential and controversial German-American intellectual whose colorful and dramatic life intersected with many of the great events and thinkers of his time. A medieval historian whose ideas exerted an influence far beyond his field, he is most famous for two books—a notoriously nationalistic 1927 biography of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, and a classic study of medieval politics, The King’s Two Bodies (1957), written when he was at the Institute as a Faculty member (1951-63) in the School of Historical Studies.