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Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism

Slavoj Žižek: Václav Havel, 28 October 1999

Václav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts 
by John Keane.
Bloomsbury, 532 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7475 4458 1
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... Václav Havel’s life would seem to be an unrivalled success story: the Philosopher-King, a man who combines political power with a global moral authority comparable only to that of the Pope, the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela. And just as at the end of a fairy tale when the hero is rewarded for all his suffering by marrying the princess, he is married to a beautiful movie actress ...

‘You May!’

Slavoj Žižek: The post-modern superego, 18 March 1999

... Rule Girls’ are heterosexual women who follow precise rules as to how they let themselves be seduced (accept a date only if you are asked at least three days in advance etc). Although the rules correspond to customs which used to regulate the behaviour of old-fashioned women actively pursued by old-fashioned men, the Rule Girls phenomenon does not involve a return to conservative values: women now freely choose their own rules – an instance of the ‘reflexivisation’ of everyday customs in today’s ‘risk society ...
... Slavoj Žižek: In the Grey Zone Tariq Ali: The Muslim Response Jeremy Harding in Paris Adam Shatz: Moral Clarity Tariq Ali: Short Cuts Uri Avnery: Netanyahu at the March Glen Newey: The Right to Joke ...

Hate is the new love

Malcolm Bull: Slavoj Žižek, 25 January 2001

The Fragile Absolute or why is the christian legacy worth fighting for? 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 182 pp., £16, June 2000, 1 85984 770 6
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... city is a universal city of aliens, coming together, co-operating, communicating.’ And even Slavoj Žižek, who complains that ‘in today’s critical and political discourse, the term “worker” has disappeared, supplanted and/or obliterated by “immigrants”,’ ends The Fragile Absolute with the vision of ‘the community of believers qua ...


Terry Eagleton, 27 November 1997

The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, January 1997, 1 85984 094 9
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The Abyss of Freedom/Ages of The World 
by Slavoj Žižek and F.W.J. Von Schelling.
Michigan, 182 pp., £35, July 1997, 0 472 09652 4
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The Plague of Fantasies 
by Slavoj Žižek.
Verso, 248 pp., £40, November 1997, 1 85984 857 5
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... and the Symbolic. It is also the chief protagonist of the work of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who by drawing our attention to this most underprivileged of Lacan’s three categories, challenges his fashionable image as a ‘post-structuralist’ thinker. Zizek’s Lacan is not the philosopher of the floating signifier but a much ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: Milosevic is delivered to the Hague, 19 July 2001

... ten years in a fog of mystification, stressing the ‘complexity’ of the Balkans – a term that Slavoj Žižek rightly regarded as evidence of racist condescension. What can Milosevic’s lawyers advise, when his time comes, that might undermine the process of The Hague? Quite a lot about the king-makers with their easygoing hands-across-the-sea ...

First Impressions

Fredric Jameson: Slavoj Žižek’s Paradoxes, 7 September 2006

The Parallax View 
by Slavoj Žižek.
MIT, 434 pp., £16.95, March 2006, 0 262 24051 3
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... As every schoolchild knows by now, a new book by Žižek is supposed to include, in no special order, discussions of Hegel, Marx and Kant; various pre- and post-socialist anecdotes and reflections; notes on Kafka as well as on mass-cultural writers like Stephen King or Patricia Highsmith; references to opera (Wagner, Mozart); jokes from the Marx Brothers; outbursts of obscenity, scatological as well as sexual; interventions in the history of philosophy, from Spinoza and Kierkegaard to Kripke and Dennett; analyses of Hitchcock films and other Hollywood products; references to current events; disquisitions on obscure points of Lacanian doctrine; polemics with various contemporary theorists (Derrida, Deleuze); comparative theology; and, most recently, reports on cognitive philosophy and neuroscientific ‘advances ...

The Devilish God

David Wheatley: T.S. Eliot, 1 November 2001

Words Alone: The Poet T.S. Eliot 
by Denis Donoghue.
Yale, 326 pp., £17.95, January 2001, 0 300 08329 7
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Adam’s Curse: Reflections on Religion and Literature 
by Denis Donoghue.
Notre Dame, 178 pp., £21.50, May 2001, 0 268 02009 4
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... ago in The Third Voice. SSomebody else who has been defending the Christian legacy recently is Slavoj Žižek. In his most recent book, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?, he notes the inconsistency of The Waste Land’s gesture towards religious transcendence. Eliot may wish to replace the emptiness of secular life with the certainties of ...

A Scrap of Cloth

John Borneman: The History of the Veil, 18 December 2008

The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore and Politics 
by Jennifer Heath.
California, 346 pp., £12.95, April 2008, 978 0 520 25518 0
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... with what is hidden behind the veil; with the religious ideas inside women’s heads, for example. Slavoj Zizek has argued that, within Islam, ‘there is, in a woman’s exposure, an erectile protuberance, an obscenely intrusive quality’ since she ‘stands for the “undecidability” of truth, for a succession of veils beneath which there is no ultimate ...

Smash the Screen

Hal Foster: ‘Duty Free Art’, 5 April 2018

Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War 
by Hito Steyerl.
Verso, 256 pp., £16.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 243 2
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... to collapse them; rather than deconstruct a position, she likes to burst it like a bubble. Like Slavoj Žižek and Boris Groys, she can’t resist a philosophical joke or a rhetorical trick, and sometimes this leads her to oscillate between semi-paranoid projections (à la Philip K. Dick) and semi-cynical implosions (à la Jean Baudrillard). Such ...

Antigone on Your Knee

Terry Eagleton, 6 February 2020

A Cultural History of Tragedy: Vols I-VI 
edited by Rebecca Bushnell.
Bloomsbury Academic, 1302 pp., £395, November 2019, 978 1 4742 8814 9
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... ancient sense of tragedy than the carnage they commemorate is. Besides, as both Theodor Adorno and Slavoj Žižek have argued, to describe the inmates of the Nazi camps as tragic is a moral obscenity. It is as though the use of the terms ascribes a meaning, or even a value, to something that resists all intelligibility. Tragedy aestheticises the ...

As Astonishing as Elvis

Jenny Turner: Ayn Rand, 1 December 2005

Ayn Rand 
by Jeff Britting.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £12.99, February 2005, 0 7156 3269 8
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... Ayn Rand Studies, was founded in 1999, and continues to run out of New York University; a paper by Slavoj Žižek is among past highlights. In 2001, the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Research established a $300,000 fellowship in the philosophy department at the University of Texas at Austin. Austin’s current Anthem fellow is the author of, among ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... In an essay on Avatar in the March issue of the French film journal Cahiers du cinéma, Slavoj Žižek wrote that, despite its superficial espousal of revolutionary action (by blue-skinned aliens rising up against earthling exploitation), the film was in fact entirely reactionary. In an interview in the following issue of Cahiers, Žižek cheerfully admitted that he had written his piece without actually seeing Avatar ...

Slices of Cake

Gilberto Perez: Alfred Hitchcock, 19 August 1999

Hitchcock’s Secret Notebooks: An Authorised and Illustrated Look Inside the Creative Mind of Alfred Hitchcock 
by Dan Auiler.
Bloomsbury, 567 pp., £20, May 1999, 0 7475 4490 5
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... admirers, it has never been much of a critical favourite. ‘What’s wrong with The Wrong Man?’ Slavoj Zizek asks at the start of the concluding essay in Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lacan (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock). Zizek accepts Rohmer and Chabrol’s Catholic – or more precisely Jansenist – view of ‘Hitchcock’s ...

Kettles boil, classes struggle

Terry Eagleton: Lukács recants, 20 February 2003

A Defence of ‘History and Class Consciousness’: Tailism and the Dialectic 
by Georg Lukács, translated by Esther Leslie.
Verso, 182 pp., £10, June 2002, 1 85984 370 0
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... which divide John Rees, who has written an erudite, illuminating introduction to this book, and Slavoj Žižek, who has provided a characteristically provocative ‘postface’ for it. Roughly speaking, Rees seeks rather stiffly to reclaim Lukács for a certain Marxist orthodoxy, whereas the more imaginative ...

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