By Enzo Traverso
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the top of the chilly struggle but additionally the increase of a melancholic imaginative and prescient of historical past as a sequence of losses. For the political left, the reason misplaced used to be communism, and this trauma decided how leftists wrote the subsequent bankruptcy of their political fight and the way they've got considered their earlier on account that. during the 20th century, argues Left-Wing Melancholia, from classical Marxism to psychoanalysis to the arrival of severe idea, a tradition of defeat and its emotional overlay of depression have characterised the leftist realizing of the political in heritage and in theoretical critique.
Drawing on an unlimited and various archive in idea, testimony, and picture and on such thinkers as Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, and others, the highbrow historian Enzo Traverso explores the various nature of left depression because it has manifested in a sense of guilt for no longer sufficiently difficult authority, in a terror of surrendering in disarray and resignation, in mourning the human expenditures of the prior, and in a feeling of failure for no longer understanding utopian aspirations. but hidden inside this melancholic culture are the assets for a renewed problem to triumphing regimes of historicity, a fondness that has the facility to reignite the dialectic of innovative thought.
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Extra info for Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory
There will be no future,” he assesses, “only a present in which the left (always embattled and marginalized, always—proudly—a thing of the past) struggles to assemble the ‘material for a society’ Nietzsche thought had vanished from the earth. ”22 In such an assessment, the boundary between recognition of the objective situation and resignation to defeat as an ineluctable destiny of the left almost disappears. The twenty-first century engendered a new kind of disillusionment. After the “disenchantment of the world” announced by Max Weber one century ago, when he defined modernity as the dehumanized age of instrumental rationality, we have experienced a second disenchantment brought by the failure of its alternatives.
Nothing comparable appeared after the Wende. In Poland, the turn of 1989 engendered a nationalist wave and the deaths of Jacek Kuron and Krizstof Kieslowski sealed the end of a period of critical culture. Instead of projecting themselves into the future, these revolutions created societies obsessed by the past. Museums and patrimonial institutions devoted to recovering national pasts kidnapped by Soviet communism simultaneously appeared all over the countries of Central Europe. More recently, the Arab revolutions of 2011 have quickly reached a similar deadlock.
The Culture of Defeat Shipwreck with Spectator The Vanquished Left Dialectic of Defeat Left-Wing Melancholy The Antinomies of Walter Benjamin The Melancholy Wager 2. Marxism and Memory Enter Memory, Exit Marx Memory of the Future Myth and Remembrance Futures’ Past 3. Melancholy Images Film and History The Earth Trembles Against Colonialism Realms of Memory Red Shadows Spanish Ghosts Santiago Remembrance U-topia 4. Bohemia: Between Melancholy and Revolution Sociology Marx Gustave Courbet Walter Benjamin Leon Trotsky Bohemia and Revolution Movements and Figures 5.
Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory by Enzo Traverso