Book Search:  

 

 
Google full text of our books:

bookjacket

The Seduction of Unreason:
The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism
Richard Wolin

Paperback | 2006 | $32.95 / £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691125992
400 pp. | 6 x 9
| SHOPPING CART

eBook | ISBN: 9781400825967 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:
 

Fifteen years ago, revelations about the political misdeeds of Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man sent shock waves throughout European and North American intellectual circles. Ever since, postmodernism has been haunted by the specter of a compromised past. In this intellectual genealogy of the postmodern spirit, Richard Wolin shows that postmodernism's infatuation with fascism has been widespread and not incidental. He calls into question postmodernism's claim to have inherited the mantle of the left--and suggests that postmodern thought has long been smitten with the opposite end of the political spectrum.

In probing chapters on C. G. Jung, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Georges Bataille, and Maurice Blanchot, Wolin discovers an unsettling commonality: during the 1930s, these thinkers leaned to the right and were tainted by a proverbial "fascination with fascism." Frustrated by democracy's shortcomings, they were seduced by fascism's grandiose promises of political regeneration. The dictatorships in Italy and Germany promised redemption from the uncertainties of political liberalism. But, from the beginning, there could be no doubting their brutal methods of racism, violence, and imperial conquest.

Postmodernism's origins among the profascist literati of the 1930s reveal a dark political patrimony. The unspoken affinities between Counter-Enlightenment and postmodernism constitute the guiding thread of Wolin's suggestive narrative. In their mutual hostility toward reason and democracy, postmodernists and the advocates of Counter-Enlightenment betray a telltale strategic alliance--they cohabit the fraught terrain where far left and far right intersect.

Those who take Wolin's conclusions to heart will never view the history of modern thought in quite the same way.

Review:

"The Seduction of Unreason is a wide-ranging yet subtle consideration of the intellectual's abiding fascination with absolutism, and as such it is a perceptive, compelling and invaluable document. His indignation at the folly and perversity of so many major European thinkers is wholly justified and peculiarly invigorating."--John Banville, The Irish Times

"[A] lively, learned, and wide-ranging work. . . . Wolin's subjects have exercised a remarkable impact on certain academic and cultural fields in the U.S. in the last several decades."--Choice

"For anyone who has passed through the academic humanities in the last quarter-century and has been exposed to the dubious legacy of postmodernism, The Seduction of Unreason is an indispensable book. It is another important installment in what has become one of the major intellectual enterprises of our time: Richard Wolin's principled defense of liberalism against its most sophisticated enemies."--Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

"In this impressive book Wolin does for the Left what Bloom did for the Right; he makes a powerful case for a return to moral seriousness."--Daniel P. Murphy, Magill's Literary Annual 2005

"The topic of Richard Wolin's book is the nexus between postmodernism and politics. . . . Wolin's book raises the right questions at the right time. He forces us to think critically about the deepest philosophical underpinnings of our moral and political ideals. We simply cannot rest content with an unmeasured assault on reason."--Andy Wallace,Ethics

"This author's excellent study provides the reader with an informed survey of some of the more important intellectual trends of the twentieth century, employing the writings of a selection of Europe's avant-garde authors."--A. James Gregor, The Historian

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii
A Note on Giorgio de Chirico's "Song of Love" xx
INTRODUCTION: Answer to the Question: What Is Counter-Enlightenment? 1
PART I. THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY REVISITED
1. Zarathustra Goes to Hollywood: On the Postmodern
Reception of Nietzsche 27
2. Prometheus Unhinged: C. G. Jung and the Temptations of Aryan Religion 63
3. Fascism and Hermeneutics: Gadamer and the Ambiguities of "Inner Emigration" 89
POLITICAL EXCURSUS I: Incertitudes Allemandes: Reflections on the German New Right 129
PART II. FRENCH LESSONS
4. Left Fascism: Georges Bataille and the German Ideology 153
5. Maurice Blanchot: The Use and Abuse of Silence 187
6. Down by Law: Deconstruction and the Problem of Justice 220
POLITICAL EXCURSES II: Designer Fascism: On the Ideology of the French New Right 256
CONCLUSION: "Site of Catastrophe": The Image of America in Modern Thought 278
Notes 315
Index 369

This book has been translated into:

  • Chinese (Complex)

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Richard Wolin:

Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Google Play eBook Store
  • Kno eBook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

  • Shopping Cart:

    • For hardcover/paperback orders:

      For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

      Paperback: $32.95 ISBN: 9780691125992

      For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India, and Pakistan

      Paperback: £22.95 ISBN: 9780691125992

      Add to shopping cart

      Prices subject to change without notice

      File created: 11/10/2014

    Questions and comments to: webmaster@press.princeton.edu
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Videos/Audios
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Subjects
    Series
    Catalogs
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Textbooks
    Media/Reviewers
    Class Use
    Rights/Permissions
    Ordering
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    Links
    F.A.Q.
    PUP Home


    Bookmark and Share
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Philosophy
    Political Philosophy
    European History
    Comparative Literature
    More Choices