The 1870s in France - Rimbaud’s moment, and the subject of this book - is a decade virtually ignored in most standard histories of France. Yet it was the moment of two significant spatial events: France’s expansion on a global scale, and, in the spring of 1871, the brief existence of the Paris Commune - the construction of revolutionary urban space. Arguing that space, as a social fact, is always political and strategic, Kristen Ross has written a book that is at once history and geography of the Commune’s anarchist culture - its political language and social relations, its values, strategies, and stances.
Central to her analysis of the Commune as social space and oppositional culture is a close textual reading of Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry. His poems - a common thread running through the book - are one set of documents among many in Ross’s recreation of the Communard experience. Rimbaud, Paul Lafargue, and the social geographer Elisee Reclus serve as emblematic figures moving within and on the periphery of the Commune; in their resistance to the logic and economy of a capitalist conception of work, in their challenge to work itself as a term of identity, all three posed a threat to the existing order. Ross looks at these and other emancipator notions as aspects of Communard life, each with an analogous strategy in Rimbaud’s poetry. Applying contemporary theory to a wealth of little-known archival material, she has written a fresh, persuasive, and original book.
The essays in Theology and the Political—written by some of the world’s foremost theologians, philosophers, and literary critics—analyze the ethics and consequences of human action. They explore the spiritual dimensions of ontology, considering the relationship between ontology and the political in light of the thought of figures ranging from Plato to Marx, Levinas to Derrida, and Augustine to Lacan. Together, the contributors challenge the belief that meaningful action is simply the successful assertion of will, that politics is ultimately reducible to “might makes right.” From a variety of perspectives, they suggest that grounding human action and politics in materialist critique offers revolutionary possibilities that transcend the nihilism inherent in both contemporary liberal democratic theory and neoconservative ideology.
Contributors. Anthony Baker, Daniel M. Bell Jr., Phillip Blond, Simon Critchley, Conor Cunningham, Creston Davis, William Desmond, Hent de Vries, Terry Eagleton, Rocco Gangle, Philip Goodchild, Karl Hefty, Eleanor Kaufman, Tom McCarthy, John Milbank, Antonio Negri, Catherine Pickstock, Patrick Aaron Riches, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Regina Mara Schwartz, Kenneth Surin, Graham Ward, Rowan Williams, Slavoj Žižek