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12 May 1994
The Frankfurt School 
by Rolf Wiggershaus, translated by Michael Robertson.
Polity, 787 pp., £45, January 1994, 0 7456 0534 6
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... holistic political theory indebted as much to Hegel as to Marx. In the brief period before Hitler came to power, Horkheimer assembled around him a brilliant coterie of younger intellectuals, of whom HerbertMarcuse and Theodor Adorno were to become the most eminent. In 1934, the Institute, many of whose members were Jews, transplanted itself to the United States and, still under Horkheimer’s mandarin ...

From Soixante-Huit to Soixante-Neuf

Glen Newey: Slack-Sphinctered Pachyderm

29 April 1999
Collected Papers: Technology, War and Fascism 
by Herbert Marcuse, edited by Douglas Kellner.
Routledge, 278 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 415 13780 2
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The Contract of Mutual Indifference: Political Philosophy after the Holocaust 
by Norman Geras.
Verso, 181 pp., £15, June 1998, 1 85984 868 0
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... Hofstadter himself acquired the dogma from such ‘Frankfurt School’ followers of avowed arch-conspirator Georg Lukacs and the sometime OSS and CIA agent, sometime Communist, and active conspirator HerbertMarcuse, who used to begin his lectures with the singsong ‘There are no conspiracies in history.’ The ‘authoritarian personality’ dogma of such Frankfurt School existentialists as Theodor ...
23 April 1992
Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault 
by Jonathan Dollimore.
Oxford, 388 pp., £35, August 1991, 0 19 811225 4
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Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories 
by Diana Fuss.
Routledge, 432 pp., £40, March 1992, 0 415 90236 3
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... and malcontents. It is a central tenet of Freudian theory that universal polymorphous perversity is overcome in the interests of civilisation; and in the work of Wilhelm Reich, Norman O. Brown and HerbertMarcuse, sexual desire reappeared as a potentially revolutionary force. Dollimore challenges both the underlying heterosexual biases of these sexual liberators, and the romanticising of an innately ...
1 June 2000
The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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... In 1967, HerbertMarcuse published a little essay entitled ‘The End of Utopia’, which now reads like a document of a long lost civilisation. Arguing against the pejorative use of the word as a synonym for the absurdly ...
18 September 1997
Selected Stories 
by Mavis Gallant.
Bloomsbury, 887 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 7475 3251 6
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... pass for Engels ... Grippes, pale trench coat over dark turtleneck, hands clenched in trench coat pockets, knew he was ageing, irreversibly, minute by minute. Some of the students thought he was HerbertMarcuse and tried to carry him on their shoulders to Le Figaro’s editorial offices, which they hoped he would set on fire. But it’s not enough for Gallant simply to offer us jokes at Grippes’s ...

Sexual Politics

Michael Neve

5 February 1981
Edward Carpenter, 1844-1929: Prophet of Human Fellowship 
by Chushichi Tsuzuki.
Cambridge, 237 pp., £15, November 1980, 0 521 23371 2
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... join sexuality to politics. It must also be admitted that it is hard to think of many real victories in this area, an area that received its most distinguished theoretical support in the writings of HerbertMarcuse. Liberal social theory has always had a sophisticated grasp on the distinctions between the public and the private, in its theories on rights and its notion of democratic activity. To seek a ...


J.P. Stern

3 April 1986
Reflections of a Non-Political Man 
by Thomas Mann, translated by Walter Morris.
Lorrimar, 435 pp., £19.50, February 1986, 9780804425858
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... universities; against Western positivism and ‘functionalism’ threatening to oust German holistic and deductive theories of society; against Anglo-Saxon analytical language philosophy (which HerbertMarcuse accused of ‘academic sadomasochism’, ‘self-humiliation and self-denunciation’) threatening to invalidate German ontological thinking. ‘Could it be that German nationalism was part ...


J.P. Stern: This great wall has fallen down

7 December 1989
... days we have prayed in this church, and now this great wall has fallen down.’ The old story conveyed a better message to the people than did the assorted ideologies from Rosa Luxemburg through HerbertMarcuse to Jürgen Habermas. Deep worries remain. Is all this not bound to lead to demands for the reunification of the two Germanies? When Chancellor Kohl declaimed, Wir sind ein Volk, could most of ...


Gary Indiana: Nymphomania, antic incest and metaphysical torment

14 December 2006
Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker 
edited by Amy Scholder, Carla Harryman and Avital Ronell.
Verso, 120 pp., £10.99, May 2006, 9781844670666
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... confusion which Acker herself did nothing to discourage. Peter Wollen’s essay in Lust for Life focuses attention on Acker’s lifelong involvement in politics and the visual arts, her studies with HerbertMarcuse, and the influence on her writing of conceptual art, the Black Mountain poets and Burroughs’s cut-up technique. Most helpfully, Wollen sheds light on the split identities Acker assumes in ...
19 August 2011
... was really about: the unleashing of the barbarian who lurked beneath our apparently civilised, bourgeois society, through the satisfying of the barbarian’s ‘basic instincts’. In the 1960s, HerbertMarcuse introduced the concept of ‘repressive desublimation’ to explain the ‘sexual revolution’: human drives could be desublimated, allowed free rein, and still be subject to capitalist ...

Death (and Life) of the Author

Peter Wollen: Kathy Acker

5 February 1998
... the two) was set for life in San Diego, where she went as a student toward the end of the Sixties. Born and brought up in New York, she had first attended Brandeis University, and it was because HerbertMarcuse left Brandeis to become a Professor at UC. San Diego that Acker left to follow him out west to Southern California. Then, in San Diego, she not only continued her academic relationship with ...

Ceaseless Anythings

James Wood: Robert Stone

1 October 1998
Damascus Gate 
by Robert Stone.
Picador, 500 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 37058 8
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... Lucas says of his father and mother: ‘he took her on a trip to Los Angeles on the Superchief’ – the cross-country train – ‘to meet all his pals. The Frankfurt school. Theodor Adorno and HerbertMarcuse and Thomas Mann.’ Although Adorno helped Mann with Doctor Faustus, Mann had no especial proximity to the Frankfurt School, so Stone is technically wrong. But the little list is wrong ...
6 January 1994
In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... of the recruiter. Well-known for his edition of Victor Serge, he was soon to become better known for his clinical evisceration of the work of R.D. Laing, and for his hilariously mordant critique of HerbertMarcuse. (This is important, because a feature of the IS, as it called itself, was that it was inoculated against certain Sixties fads in advance.) Over the next several months we continued to meet ...


Adam Phillips

9 March 1995
Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond 
by Nancy Chodorow.
Free Association, 132 pp., £8.95, July 1994, 1 85343 380 2
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... and the radical changes in sexual mores since the Sixties, produced only a brief flourish of sexual utopianism in the inspired writings of Norman O. Brown and the rather more academic treatises of HerbertMarcuse (the concept of surplus repression could only have come out of a surplus of university teaching). Very quickly the masters of scarcity returned with their bracingly joyless language of lack ...

Naughty Children

Christopher Turner: Freud’s Free Clinics

6 October 2005
Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice 1918-38 
by Elizabeth Ann Danto.
Columbia, 348 pp., £19.50, May 2005, 0 231 13180 1
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... Freudians never did, and emphasised Freud’s political pessimism – Erich Fromm, for example, dismissed the revolutionary Freud as a myth. It was only in 1955 that a member of the Frankfurt School, HerbertMarcuse, revived the more radical Freud in Eros and Civilisation, which came out two years before Reich’s death. Perhaps these vacillating positions represent some ambivalence at the heart of Freud ...

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