With a new introduction by the author In this deliciously polemical work, a giant of cultural theory immerses himself in the ideas of a giant of French thought. In his inimical style, Zizek links Deleuze's work with both Oedipus and Hegel, figures from whom the French philosopher distanced himself. Zizek turns some Deleuzian concepts around in order to explore the 'organs without bodies' in such films as Fight Club and the works of Hitchcock. Finally, he attacks what he sees as the 'radical chic' Deleuzians, arguing that such projects turn Deleuze into an ideologist of today's 'digital capitalism'. With his brilliant energy and fearless argumentation, Zizek sets out to restore a truer, more radical Deleuze than the one we thought we knew.
Widely regarded as one of the foremost cultural critics of the last century, Walter Benjamin's relation to Modernism has largely been understood in the context of his reception of the aesthetic theories of Early German Romanticism and his associated interest in avant-garde Surrealism. But this Romantic understanding only gives half the picture. Running through Benjamin's thought is also a critique of Romanticism, developed in conjunction with a positive engagement with the philosophical, artistic and historical writings of J. W. von Goethe. In demonstrating the significance of these Goethean elements, this book challenges the dominant understanding of Benjamin's philosophy as essentially Romantic and instead proposes that Goethe's Classicism, conceived as the counterpoint to Romanticism, permits a corrective to the latter's deficiencies. Benjamin's Modernist concept of criticism, it is argued, is constituted in the movement between these polarities of Romanticism and Classicism. Conversely, placing Goethe's Classicism in relation to Benjamin's practice of literary criticism reveals historical tensions with Romanticism that constitute the untimely – indeed, it will be argued, cinematic – Modernism of his work. Adopting a transcritical approach, this book alternates between Benjamin and Goethe in relation to the experiences of colour, language and technology, assembling a constellation of philosophical and artistic figures between them, including the writings of Kant, Nietzsche, Cohen, Deleuze, Koselleck, Klages, and the work of Grünewald, Marées, Klee, Turner, Hulme, Eisenstein, Tretyakov, and Murnau.
Exploring the relationship of human bodies with nature and culture, this book looks at how humans affect their natural and cultural environments and how those environments affect humans. Examining how the body has been modelled, and the ways in which the body, disease and illness have been figured in metaphors, the book argues for an environmentally sustainable and healthy relationship between the body and the earth. The book explores: the body as machine; the body as landscape; the body as land, and land as body; the body as 'cyborg' (or cybernetic organism); and disease and illness as an invading army to be fought and defeated on the battlefield of the body. It also celebrates the body as earth or land, the grotesque body, the monstrous body and the Taoist body of Tai chi. These bodies are expressed in carnivalesque tales, eco-friendly illness narratives and health-recovery stories. Ultimately the book explores how to make the relationship and interaction between human beings/bodies and ecosystems/ecology ecologically sustainable.