Peter Joachim Gay (né Fröhlich; June 20, 1923 – May 12, 2015) was a German American historian, educator, and author. He was Sterling Professor of History at Yale University and former director of the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers (1997–2003). Gay received the American Historical Association’s (AHA) Award for Scholarly Distinction in 2004. He authored over 25 books, including The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, a two-volume award winner; Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider (1968), a bestseller; and the widely translated Freud: A Life for Our Time (1988).
Gay was born in Berlin in 1923 and emigrated, via Cuba, to the United States in 1941. From 1948 to 1955 he was a political science professor at Columbia University, and then a history professor from 1955 to 1969. He left Columbia in 1969 to join Yale University’s History Department as Professor of Comparative and Intellectual European History and was named Sterling Professor of History in 1984. Gay was the interim editor of The American Scholar after the death of Hiram Haydn in 1973 and served on that magazine’s editorial board for many years.Sander L. Gilman, a literary historian at Emory University, called Gay “one of the major American historians of European thought, period”.
Books in order of publication:
The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism: Eduard Bernstein’s Challenge to Marx, 1952.
Voltaire’s Politics: The Poet as Realist, 1959.
The Party of Humanity: Essays in the French Enlightenment, 1964.
The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: The Rise of Modern Paganism, 1966 — winner of the National Book Award. Reissued 1995.
The Loss of Mastery: Puritan Historians in Colonial America, 1966.
Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider, 1968.
The Enlightenment: An Interpretation: The Science of Freedom, 1969. Reissued 1995.
The Bridge of Criticism: Dialogues on the Enlightenment, 1970.
Modern Europe: Since 1815, co-written with Robert Kiefer Webb, 1973.
Style in History, 1974.
Art and Act: On Causes in History— Manet, Gropius, Mondrian, 1976.
Freud, Jews, and Other Germans: Masters and Victims in Modernist Culture, 1978.
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, 5 vols., 1984–1998:
The Education of the Senses (1984)
The Tender Passion (1986)
The Cultivation of Hatred (1993)
The Naked Heart (1995)
Pleasure Wars (1998)
Freud for Historians, 1985.
A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis, 1987.
Freud: A Life for Our Time, 1988
Reading Freud: Explorations & Entertainments, 1990.
Sigmund Freud and Art: His Personal Collection of Antiquities, 1993.
My German Question: Growing Up in Nazi Berlin, 1998 (autobiography).
Modernism: The Lure of Heresy: from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond, 2007.
Why the Romantics Matter, 2015.