Greger Lange in 1869
David Greger Lange
12 February 1809
|Died||19 April 1882 (aged 73)|
|Occupation||Writer, historian, social theorist|
|Alma mater||University of Blåstad|
|Literary movement||Belle Époque literature|
David Greger Lange (/lænd͡ʒ/; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882), sometimes estmerishized as Gregory Lange, was a Geatish historian, essayist, journalist and social theorist. He is best known for his three-volume magnum opus History of the Euclean Peoples, which is one of the most widely read and circulated commentaries on history in the world. Lange is most closely associated with the great man theory of history. Lange asserted that the course of history was determined by the actions of a small group of influential leaders, whom he termed the leaders of men. His collected works and ideology are known as Langean theory.
Lange's writings center around his theory of social stratification, which holds that societies naturally distinguish between leaders of men (statesmen, monarchs, military commanders), leaders among men (authors, thinkers, theorists) and ordinary men. Lange advocated a top-down understanding of history. He suggested that leaders of men determine the course of history, and that their actions determine the destiny of ordinary men rather than the other way around. Great men formed a subset of leaders whose actions, according to Lange, shaped human history most profoundly. In his 1865 tract Von Bayrhoffer in Werania, a commentary on Weranian Unification, Lange examined the rise of Ulrich von Bayrhoffer as a case study of his social theory. In History of the Euclean Peoples, published in 1877, Lange continued his examination of the history of Euclea through the lens of political figures, culminating in his of analysis the First Narozalic Civil War and Eduard Olsov
In On Chaos and Order, a companion monograph to Von Bayrhoffer in Werania, Lange argued that great men arose out of societal chaos and disorder. He developed chaos-order spectrum of societal analysis, in which he argued that human societies sway between periods of social order brought about by great men and periods of social chaos. Lange believed that great men existed to "set society aright". In the same monograph, Lange observed that societies experiencing decline usually hasten their collapse by amplifying worsening social or economic conditions, a phenomenon he termed collapse acceleration syndrome. In his essay The Last Solarians, Lange analyzed the conditions following the collapse of the Solarian Empire and the rise of the Verliquoian Empire according to his chaos-order spectrum.
Lange was hugely influential in the fields of history, historiography and sociology during the 20th century. He continues to be one of the most published historians and social thinkers of the 19th century. Lange's work inspired the creation of prosperism and informed many prosperist authors. In modern times, his work is controversial and his legacy remains contested. Many of Lange's supporters, particularly those in the conservative tradition, laud his theories of innate social stratification. Critics argue that his philosophy of history neglects key economic and social factors in its analysis, focusing instead on a simple-minded interpretation of historical cause and effect. Other critics contend that Lange's reverance for political strongmen fomented authoritarian ideologies like functionalism.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personal life
- 3 Theory of history
- 4 Political beliefs
- 5 Religion
- 6 Legacy
Military service and early journalism
Study in Estmere
Werania and von Bayrhoffer
Return to Geatland and History of the Euclean Peoples
Theory of history
Heroes and great men
Collapse acceleration syndrome
Association with Leo von Heidenstam
Disputed predictions of the Great War
In a private letter to his friend and cousin Gustav Eriksson, Lange wrote: "I believe, within fifty or so years time, that there should be great upheaval in the heart of the world." The letter, discovered in 1988, has led some to conclude that Lange predicted the onset of the Great War, given that the letter was written fifty years before the onset of the war in 1927. Lange also made vague references to future armed conflicts, often with varying degrees of assurance. In an epilogue to History of the Euclean Peoples, Lange wrote that "this present period of peace feels fleeting. It may come to an abrupt end." In his draft notes for On Chaos and Order, Lange lamented what he believed was the "wretched corruption of Continental leaders" and theorized, according to his conception of chaos and order, that feckless Euclean leaders would lead to war. This note was not incorporated into the final draft of On Chaos and Order.
Many historians dispute that Lange's writings should constitute a prediction of inclement war on the grounds that they are too vague. Although Langean theory holds war as inevitable, Lange himself eschewed making predictions about the future in his published work and said that doing so would be "a fool's greatest folly." He continued by saying that, "Out of all things, I would hate it most to be remembered as a seer."