How would it be if what we take for human advance were simply a technological progress that literally leaves us out of its equations? What if progress is not humanity striking out bravely towards the future, but an ultimately destructive force? In a remarkable tour d'horizon, Paul Virilio paints a bleak picture of current scientific, cultural, social and political values. Art has succumbed to the techniques of advertising and in politics, the battle for hearts and minds has become a mere convergence of opinion. TV ratings have triumphed over universal suffrage. The events of September 11 reflect both the manipulation of a global sub-proletariat and the delusions of an elite of rich students and technicians who resemble the 'suicidal members of the Heaven's Gate cybersect'. And, in this post-humanist dystopia, we are morally rudderless before the threat of biological manipulations as yet undreamt. About the series: Appearing on the first anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these series of books from Verso present analyses of the United States, the media, and the events surrounding September 11 by Europe's most stimulating and provocative philosophers. Probing beneath the level of TV commentary, political and cultural orthodoxies, and 'rent-a-quote' punditry, Baudrillard, Virilio, and Zizek offer three highly original and readable accounts that serve as fascinating introductions to the direction of their respective projects, and as insightful critiques of the unfolding events. This series seeks to comprehend the philosophical meaning of September 11 and will leave untouched none of the prevailing views currently propagated.
Now in paperback, an "antidote to a world gone mad for bedside affirmation" (Washington Post). E. M. Cioran has been called the last worthy disciple of Nietzsche and "a sort of final philosopher of the Western world" who "combines the compassion of poetry and the audacity of cosmic clowning" (Washington Post). All Gall Is Divided is the second book Cioran published in French after moving from his native Romania and establishing himself in Paris. It revealed him as an aphorist in a long tradition descending from the ancient Greeks through La Rochefoucault but with a gift for lacerating, subversively off-kilter insights, a twentieth-century nose for the absurdities of the human condition, and what Baudelaire called "spleen." The aphorisms collected here address themes from the atrophy of utterance and the condition of the West to the abyss, solitude, time, religion, music, the vitality of love, history, and the void. The award-winning poet and translator Richard Howard has characterized them as "manic humor, howls of pain, and a vestige of tears," but, as he notes too, in these expressions of the philosopher's existential estrangement, there glows "a certain sweetness for all of what Cioran calls 'amertume.'"
A collection of aphorisms, fragments, and observations on philosophy and pessimism. Composed of aphorisms, fragments, and observations both philosophical and personal, Eugene Thacker’s Infinite Resignation traces the contours of pessimism, caught as it is between a philosophical position and a bad attitude. By turns melancholic, misanthropic, and tinged with gallows humor, Thacker’s writing tenuously hovers over that point at which the thought of futility becomes the futility of thought.
Andrei Codrescu's infamous anti-literary magazine Exquisite Corpse became a prime site of engaged dialogue in the stormy decade of its existence. Taking its name from Surrealism, the Corpse became the home of rebellion, passion, polemic, black humour, sedition, and all points between the front lines and back alleys of contemporary culture. In this text, Codrescu and Rosenthal resurrect the best essays and poems from Carl Rakosi, James Purdy, Joel Oppenheimer, Robert Creeley, Tom Clark and other members of America's vibrant and eclectic avant-garde.
A witty and addictively readable day-by-day literary companion. At once a love letter to literature and a charming guide to the books most worth reading, A Reader's Book of Days features bite-size accounts of events in the lives of great authors for every day of the year. Here is Marcel Proust starting In Search of Lost Time and Virginia Woolf scribbling in the margin of her own writing, "Is it nonsense, or is it brilliance?" Fictional events that take place within beloved books are also included: the birth of Harry Potter’s enemy Draco Malfoy, the blood-soaked prom in Stephen King’s Carrie. A Reader's Book of Days is filled with memorable and surprising tales from the lives and works of Martin Amis, Jane Austen, James Baldwin, Roberto Bolano, the Brontë sisters, Junot Díaz, Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Keats, Hilary Mantel, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’Connor, Orhan Pamuk, George Plimpton, Marilynne Robinson, W. G. Sebald, Dr. Seuss, Zadie Smith, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, Leo Tolstoy, David Foster Wallace, and many more. The book also notes the days on which famous authors were born and died; it includes lists of recommended reading for every month of the year as well as snippets from book reviews as they appeared across literary history; and throughout there are wry illustrations by acclaimed artist Joanna Neborsky. Brimming with nearly 2,000 stories, A Reader's Book of Days will have readers of every stripe reaching for their favorite books and discovering new ones.
“Only a monster can allow himself the luxury of seeing things as they are,” writes E. M. Cioran, the Romanian-born philosopher who has rightly been compared to Samuel Beckett. In History and Utopia, Cioran the monster writes of politics in its broadest sense, of history, and of the utopian dream. His views are, to say the least, provocative. In one essay he casts a scathing look at democracy, that “festival of mediocrity”; in another he turns his uncompromising gaze on Russia, its history, its evolution, and what he calls “the virtues of liberty.” In the dark shadow of Stalin and Hitler, he writes of tyrants and tyranny with rare lucidity and convincing logic. In “Odyssey of Rancor,” he examines the deep-rooted dream in all of us to “hate our neighbors,” to take immediate and irremediable revenge. And, in the final essay, he analyzes the notion of the “golden age,” the biblical Eden, the utopia of so many poets and thinkers.