Two Great Losses
With the deaths of Mike Davis and Tom Nairn, the international left has lost two of its most original and far-sighted thinkers—and NLR, two outstanding contributors, whose signature theses profoundly enriched the thought-worlds of the journal. As prologue to fuller commemoration of each, Perry Anderson reflects on what both have meant for the Review.
A Hero From Capitalism’s Hell
A tribute to Mike Davis, perhaps the finest revolutionary-socialist writer the US has produced. From boyhood geologizing with his meat-cutter father in the Californian desert to radical organizing in sixties LA, education in Western Marxism and voracious reading in labour history, political economy and urban ecology, the making of a great organic intellectual of the American working class.
“The interview with Pierre Vilar published here for the first time in English was conducted in March 1987. Vilar may be best known in the Anglophone world today for his tightly conceptualized epic, A History of Gold and Money, 1450–1929, and for his landmark ‘Marxist History, a . . .” read more
The Politics of Fernando Pessoa
Pessoa was one of the greatest and strangest poets of the 20th century, famous for the elusive profusion of his ‘heteronyms’. Yet in light of the first biography worthy of him, and recent Portuguese studies of his work, he emerges as perhaps the most passionate—and productive—political writer of all the original modernists, as Portugal lurched from the noisy overthrow of its monarchy to the quiet tyranny of Salazar.
Timpanaro Among the Anglo Saxons
Advocate of philosophical materialism; incisive critic of Freud and of post-Saussurean linguistics; noted philologist: considerations on the reception of Sebastiano Timpanaro in the Anglophone world, and his relations with New Left Review in particular.
Mathematics and Modern Literature
If modernist literature has been fascinated by the possibilities of mathematical formalism, mathematicians have repaid the compliment in their use of that paramount avant-garde form: the manifesto. Here we publish extracts from Alice Bamford’s bravura treatment of experimentation at Bourbaki and Oulipo.
Engels’s Second Theory
The author of Buying Time detects a state-political supplement to Marxian social theory in Engels’s analyses of 19th-century militarism. The interplay of modes of production and destruction, class struggle and international warfare, from the Crimea to the War on Terror.
A Tale of Two Marxisms
The political-intellectual career of sociologist Erik Olin Wright (1947–2019), traced by a friend and collaborator. Amid the demise of actually existing socialism, a passage from class analysis to utopian imaginings, science to critique. Can Polanyi offer insights on how these strands might be joined?
K-Punk At Large
The most powerful critique of neoliberal culture since the crisis, issued from the margins of the blogosphere. Simon Hammond traces the arc of Mark Fisher’s career, from accelerationism to Capitalist Realism and beyond, in a striking comparison with the critical cultural studies of Stuart Hall.
Antonio Candido 1918–2017
Pioneer analyst of a Brazilian literary space, Candido surveyed Western cultural centres and their contending theories, not simply to measure up local experience, but to test them against it. Portrait of a gifted teacher and literary critic, subtle master of his country’s complex ex-colonial condition.
Ben Anderson 1936–2015
Affecting tribute to the author of Imagined Communities, tracking a friend’s life from birth in pre-war Yunnan to exclusion from Suharto’s Indonesia, area studies at Cornell to delvings into popular Siam, recovery of the international context of Filipino revolt against Spain, and final return to Java.
The Soul of the Eurozone
The character, career and intellectual output of Europe’s most consequential politician, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble—longest-standing member of parliament in his country’s history, superintendent of national reunification and drill-master of continental austerity, obliged to serve in the shadow of a muddle-through mediocrity.
As the world of Soviet Communism disintegrates around him, a young Russian discovers the thought and moral example of the great Italian revolutionary who was his grandfather. Antonio Gramsci Jnr on his legacy, and the remarkable family of his grandmother, Giulia Schucht.
The Heirs of Gramsci
Transformations of the Prison Notebooks’ fertile problematic of hegemony by a quartet of thinkers—Hall, Laclau, Guha, Arrighi—from Jamaica, Buenos Aires, Bengal, Milan. Coercion and persuasion, ideology and economic interest, national and inter-state systems as means for thinking Thatcherism’s ascendancy, populist strategies, peasant rebellion, post-colonial rule and the geo-political logics of American power.
In the second part of a sweeping reconstruction of the development of Marx’s thought, the ways in which bourgeois society came to be replaced by capitalism as the cardinal object of investigation after the collapse of the revolutions of 1848, and the political lessons of his passage across that watershed for rebellions in the new century.
Opening salvo of a two-part reconstruction of Marx’s intellectual passage through the Hegelian—then Ricardian—conceptual landscape of his early years, taking him to the threshold of his mature architectonics of capitalism as a mode of production. From a starting-point in the philosophical empyrean of the 1830s to a turning-point with the economic upturn of the early 1850s, the development of one sketch of an historical materialism to the brink of another.
Rethinking the Republic
Nowhere else in the West does a single figure occupy the same position in national life as the political writer Fintan O’Toole in Ireland. The first full consideration of the cursus and corpus of this powerful critic of the island’s establishment, and the society over which it has presided. Merits and limitations of another understanding of ‘republicanism’ in Ireland.
Retrospective on the liberated life and work of Alexander Cockburn, whose last book, A Colossal Wreck, completes a dazzling triptych. Shaping influences of family, place and political epoch on a singularly radical temperament, and the keen-edged prose in which it found expression.