Ranging in date from Elias's teenage years before the First World War to the 1930s, the writings in this volume previously unpublished in English include the essay 'On Seeing in Nature', his doctoral dissertation 'Idea and Individual', a response to Karl Mannheim's famous paper on cultural competition, and a number of short stories contributed to a newspaper. Other essays collected together here concern primitive art, the sociology of German anti-Semitism, kitsch style and the age of kitsch, and the expulsion of the Huguenots from France. This edition includes as an appendix a draft outline of Elias's Habilitation thesis begun under Alfred Weber. Early Writings have been translated from the German edition, Fruschriften, published by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt/Main as volume 1 of the Norbert Elias Gesammelte Schriften, 2002.

Norbert Elias: biographical note
- Note on the text
- Three-day excursion to the Riesengebirge (1914)
- On seeing in nature (1921)
- Idea and individual: A critical investigation of the concept of history (1924)
- Idea and individual: A contribution to the philosophy of history (1924)
- Anecdotes (1924)
- Contribution to the debate on Karl Mannheim: The importance of competition in the intellectual field (1929)
- On primitive art (1929)
- The sociology of German anti-Semitism (1929)
- The kitsch style and the age of kitsch (1935). The expulsion of the Huguenots from France (1935)
- Appendix: The emergence of the modern natural sciences (c. 1925-6)
- Bibliography
- Index.