August 29, 2019 at 9:03 am

Collins Authors Afterword to New Translation of ‘Man into Wolf’

Brian Collins, portrait

Brian Collins, the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy. Photo courtesy of Brian Collins

Dr. Brian Collins published a lengthy afterword to a new Italian translation of Man into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism, and Lycanthropy by Robert Eisler. The translation was titled Uomo diventa Lupo and was published by Adelphi Edizioni under the direction of noted Italian writer Roberto Calasso.

Collins is Associate Professor, Chair of Classics & World Religions and Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University.

Uomo diventa Lupo book coverOriginally published in 1951, two years after his death, Man into Wolf is based on a lecture Eisler gave at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1949. The book claims that the human propensity to violence can be traced back to a period in pre-human history in which human began to imitate the behavior of pack-hunting animals. Eisler himself was an Austrian polymath who wrote about economics, art history, religion, politics, linguistics, philosophy, the history of science, and psychology and spent 15 months in Nazi concentration camps, which inspired his thesis in the book.

Collins’ afterword, titled “A Very Square Peg: The Life and Work of Robert Eisler,” is so far the only substantial biography ever written about this complex and now largely forgotten figure. Over the summer, Collins worked with a student assistant from the Honors Tutorial College to turn the essay into a 10-episode podcast series.

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