My review of Living in the End Times

I have a review of the expanded paperback edition of Living in the End Times up at Emmy Manuel’s excellent Global Comment. It is a partial refutation of Zizek’s own review of the book as largely bullshit.

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7 Responses to “My review of Living in the End Times

  1. Richard Says:

    I enjoyed this review; it’s made me more likely to read the book than I had been. I’ve previously read only First as Tragedy, Then as Farce and the borrowed kettle book, nominally about Iraq. I assume these are also examples of his more popular work. I found them by turns usefully provocative and fascinating and, well, kind of dumb.

    What might be the best one or two of his more ‘serious’ books to start with, were one so inclined?

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Both books you mention are indeed examples of his “popular” work. I believe In Defense of Lost Causes would count as well (now he’s generally doing his “serious” work with MIT Press). Violence is arguably another example.

  3. Simon Says:

    That’s a good point, Adam. Hadn’t noticed that until now. Maybe he’ll publish his “Hegel: Less than Zero” book with the MIT Press then…

  4. Adam Kotsko Says:

    A few years ago, there were rumors of a falling out with Verso, as they apparently blanched at publishing yet another thick tome of heavy theory. I don’t want to draw too firm a line between his “popular” and “serious” work, but Verso vs. MIT seems like a good approximation.

  5. Simon Says:

    It’s the same with Badiou: his “pamphlets” and shorter works are published by Verso, while his major theoretical works are published by Continuum. But then again, there are exceptions — like Jameson’s hefty volume “Valences of the Dialectic” which was released on Verso quite recently.

  6. KB Says:

    Nice review. I’d not finished IDOLC, but am going to return to it now. I think his own trashing of the book is perhaps less about his work than his own public personality, whom he seems to want to (perhaps rightly) ridicule as he strives to return to ‘serious’ work. I think however, he’ll probably perform a similar reversal and mock those who take his Hegel too seriously…

  7. Simon Says:

    Zizek’s Hegel book, “Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism,” will be released on Verso.

    Product description: “For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the dominant philosopher of the epochal historical transition to modernity; a period with which our own time shares startling similarities. Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In “Less Than Nothing”, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Zizek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs, overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Zizek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought – Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.”


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