- Paperback: 188 pages
- Publisher: Verso Books (18 Sept. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1859843263
- ISBN-13: 978-1859843260
- Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 1.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,812,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? (Wo es war) Paperback – 18 Sep 2001
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"Righteously to battle the tsunami of postmodern spiritual mush, Zizek attempts a reconciliation between Marxism and Christianity, eccentrically (against Nietzsche) trying to recuperate St Paul for the radical Christian." - Steven Pool, The Guardian "The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades." -- Terry Eagleton "With his characteristically frenetic and dizzying display of wit, Zizek will entertain and offend, but never bore." - The Stranger
From the Back Cover
With typical brio and boldness, Slavoj Zizek argues in The Fragile Absolute that the subversive core of the Christian legacy is much too precious to be left to the fundamentalists. Here is a fitting tribute from a Marxist to the 2000th anniversary of one who was well aware that to practise love in our world is to bring in the sword and fire.
'Righteously to battle the tsunami of postmodern mush, Zizek attempts a reconciliation between Marxism and Christianity, eccentrically (against Nietzsche) trying to recuperate St Paul for the radical Christian.' Steven Poole Guardian
'The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades.' Terry Eagleton
'With his characteristically frenetic and dizzying display of wit, Zizek will entertain and offend, but never bore.' The StrangerSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
This is a difficult book but it is never pretensious. It will stretch you to the limits of your knowledge. You will need to re-read it perhaps three or four times, initially, to fully benefit from the experience of an encounter with a true book of wisdom - philosophy as it should be.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
iek in this work embraces the shared Marxist and Christian messianic visions of history as an alternative to both the post-modern, New Age-Gnostic moral sludge dominating PC culture and the excesses of capital. The true heart of the work-and its most convincing parts as well-occur mid-way through in iek `s treatment of Pauline agape vs. the Law/Sin dialectic as it relates to modern human rights. More or less, this is a desperate attempt to revive Marxism as an alternative to Liberalism. Good Luck.
iek writes in a frenetic, gregarious style that is endearing but not necessarily rigorous. His penchant for citing movies, novels and popular culture besides the likes of Schelling, Lacan, Hegel and Heidegger lightens the atmosphere, but the problem is that many things that he says, many conclusions he arrives at from overly generalized instances of cultural practice are just blatantly false. Also, it can be annoying when he rambles on for five pages about a movie you've never seen, thus, making any attempt to understand his point tedious. [Recommendation: definitely make sure you've watched Hitchcock's VERTIGO before reading this book].
For me, iek is one of the authors with whom I part ways with on the big questions but with whom I often side with on the smaller questions. His acuity in the realm of cultural interpretation and his applications of Lacanian psychoanalysis to politics are both haunting and memorable long after you've finished the books. Re-reading this book, I came across this passage in footnote #12 that sent shivers down my spine with it's accuracy.
The problem, however, is that Zizek's Lacanianism blinds him to the history of Marxist criticism. He mentions Adorno and Horkheimer at several points, but it is evident that he has not read Lukacs or Debord. This fact is obvious in his chapter entitled "The Spectre of Capitalism" where he writes, as if he has some profound insight, "this reduction of heavenly chimeras to brutal economic reality generates a spectrality of its own". if he had read Lukacs--who preceded Adorno and Horkheimer--he would realize that he's speaking about the concept "reification" which even A & H understood, having read "History and Class Consciousness". And Debord's concept of spectacular society rounds out Lukacs' take on "reification" and basically nullifies Zizek's next chapter. aside from reiterating Lukacs and Debord in his own convoluted language (and appearing to sound original), Zizek also rips of Deleuze and Guattari at numerous points without giving credit. Funny thing this, since D & G would have had nothing but derision for Zizek's Lacanianiasm--psycho-analytic criticism, grounded in Freud, is nothing but Statist and pro-Capitalist since it reinforces the Oedipal triangle. You would think that even Zizek would notice this fact.
Aside from these theoretical problems, "The Fragile Absolute" is still a very compelling read. One has to wonder, however, why Zizek thinks the merging of Marxism and Christianity is some kind of "new" strategy; wasn't this the fundamental thesis of Liberation Theology in the 1960s?
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