Tony Judt: A Cooler Look
Few Anglophone intellectuals have received such posthumous acclaim as the Director of the Remarque Institute, leading contributor to the New York Review of Books, and late champion of social-democracy. Regularly compared to George Orwell, if not Isaiah Berlin, does any careful examination of his oeuvre sustain such panegyrics?
Decisions and Indecisions
Where liberal thought has tried to quarantine the ‘dangerous mind’ of Carl Schmitt, recent revisions have found portents of contemporary imperial hubris in his analysis of victors’ justice. Warning against such 'rehabilitations', Benno Teschke detects a unifying set of preoccupations that render the thinker's transition from hyper-authoritarianism to fascism logical.
The Winding Paths of Capital
The author of Long Twentieth Century and Adam Smith in Beijing, interviewed by David Harvey, on dispossession and development, capitalist crises, China’s future. The political education of a teenage factory-manager, via African liberation struggles and autonomia operaia; and influences—Braudel, Gramsci, Smith, Marx—in Arrighi’s work.
Cosmopolitanism’s Alien Face
The interweaving of literary affinities and cross-cultural influences, occluded by postcolonialist discourse, that characterized a vanished cosmopolitan modernism. Amit Chaudhuri explores paradoxes of belonging and defamiliarization in Bloomsbury and Bombay.
Roads to Renegacy
A philosophe engagé discusses the ‘wrong turn’ taken by so many erstwhile French Maoists, locating its sources within the landscape of 1970s militancy. The perils of politics as ambition, as fashion, as absolute—paving a mediatized path from 68 to Sarkozy.
No Forbidden Zone in Reading?
For a decade, the monthly review Dushu has published some of China’s most incisive debates on the country’s culture and economy. Zhang Yongle’s survey relates the journal’s trajectory to the PRC’s dramatic development course and ruptures within its intelligentsia.
Zion’s Rebel Daughter
Principally known for works on totalitarianism and the Eichmann trial, Hannah Arendt’s powerful and prophetic critiques of the Zionist project, written in the 1940s, have rarely been discussed. Gabriel Piterberg tracks the evolution of this brave and independent thinker.
A Hollow Crown
Duncan McCargo on Paul Handley, The King Never Smiles. Taboo-breaking biography of the world’s longest-serving monarch, Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej. Is the throne’s mystique, carefully reconsolidated in the 20th century, now threatened by the lottery of primogeniture?
Liberation from bourgeois marriage, central radical demand from Sand and Kollontai to Piercy, is subsumed in the age of global capital by calls for same-sex property rights. Wollen’s unmade film treatment celebrates loves unsanctified by church or state—de Beauvoir’s relationships with Sartre and Algren.
An Arabian Master
The remarkable life and literary career of Abd al-Rahman Munif, author of the Cities of Salt quintet. Sabry Hafez charts the emergence of Munif’s searing fictions. Evocations of desert traditions, foreign interference, the deformities of despotism and lessons of resistance.
Over-Man and the Commune
Peter Thomas on Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico and Jan Rehmann, Postmoderner Links-Nietzscheanismus. Two deconstructions of contemporary treatments of Nietzsche, restoring the virulence of his thought to its nineteenth-century contexts.
Political education in the dungeons of Barcelona, and the converging tracks of Filipino and Cuban revolutionaries as the 400-year-old Spanish empire enters its final throes. Benedict Anderson concludes his exploration of the late 19th-century world setting of José Rizal’s explosive anti-colonial novels.
In the World-Shadow of Bismarck and Nobel
After the literary revelations of ‘Nitroglycerine in the Pomegranate’ (NLR 27), a new political reading of José Rizal’s astonishing last novel. Imperial power, anarchist bombings and anti-colonial insurrection in the gifted young Filipino’s vision of a 19th-century global landscape.