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2010 Preview–January Titles

7th January 2010

society_adrift A Society Adrift, available in January, is a posthumous collection of interviews and papers given by Cornelius Castoriadis  between 1974 and 1997. Castoriadis is known for his radical political thought and often militant philosophies.  He was also an influential economist and philosopher. A Society Adrift acts as a concise primer on the Greek thinker, offering a look into his words and works. A proponent of direct democracy, Castoriadis founded the leftist group “Socialisme ou Barbarie” in Paris with Claude Lefort. Helen Arnold, the translator, participated in the group for several years and has translated other books by Castoriadis.

In Religion and Literature, we have Tombeau of Ibn Arabi and White Traverses, written by Abdelwahab Meddeb and translated by Charlotte Mandell. Tombeau of Ibn Arabi is a series of prose poems that draws inspiration from both Dante and Ibn Arabi, a Sufi poet whose love poems both shocked and exhilarated Islamic culture. White Traverses is Meddeb’s memoir of growing up in Tunisia, torn between the Islamic and European influences at play there. The book is a lyrical blend of poetry and religious thought.

From Jennifer Greiman comes Democracy’s Spectacle: Sovereignty and Public Life in Antebellum American Writing. Greiman dissects the relationship between sovereignty and democracy, pulling from political theorists as varied as Lydia Marie Child, Alexis de Tocqueville, Gustave de Beaumont, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. Jonathan Elmer, of Indiana University, says of the book: “…Greiman advances a complex, nuanced and original argument about the contradictions of antebellum popular sovereignty and their virulent expression in public spectacles, as well as in writing and theorizing about such spectacles. This searching study will be compelling reading for those wondering about the roots of our current failures of  political imagination.”