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By Richard Wolin

Ten essays on matters in philosophy, literary concept and highbrow historical past. The query of radical imperialism of the postmodern flip, the unspoken time table of neoconservative cultural concept and a dialogue of Walter Benjamin's position in cultural stories are incorporated within the textual content.

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Extra resources for Labyrinths: Explorations in the Critical History of Ideas (Critical Perspectives on Modern Culture)

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Such an undertaking requires remaining attuned to a variegated network of discursive levels: ethical, social, philosophical, national, and historical. That these levels are often compartmentalized and kept separatea practice abetted by the academic division of laboroften makes it difficult to see filiations that are indispensable to a fair assessment of the political influence of ideas. It is precisely on this dimension of the "effective" history of ideas that I have elected to focus. As such, Labyrinths is in many ways a companion piece to The Terms of Cultural Criticism, which appeared three years ago and which treats a number of kindred problems and themes.

3 Page 3 Following a rather surprising transatlantic intellectual migration that took place during the 1970s, this Germanic theoretical lineage, now outfitted with a French accent, became ensconced in the American academy. It was heralded as "critical," "oppositional," and "radical"claims that probably said more about the impoverished state of contemporary American radicalism (or, more precisely, about its academic displacement) than anything else. As Todd Gitlin remarked perceptively, for the last twelve years, while the Republicans have been taking over the country, the theoretical left has been taking over course syllabi in English departments.

I even know, thanks to Montesquieu, that one can be Persian. '' 21 There are, moreover, strong political affinities between the late eighteenth-century revolt against reason and the vitalist rebellion of a century later led by Nietzsche, Sorel, and the Italian elite-theorists Pareto and Mosca. 22 In evaluating the implications of the intellectual lineage under discussion, it is useful to contrast the positions of Husserl and Heidegger when the Nazis seized power. " The speech displayed a clear awareness of the momentous transformation undergone by Europe in the period of fascism's implacable rise.

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