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Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism Hardcover – May 22, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1844678976 ISBN-10: 1844678970 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Few thinkers illustrate the contradictions of contemporary capitalism better than Slavoj Žižek … one of the world’s best-known public intellectuals.”—John Gray, New York Review of Books

“A serious attempt to reanimate or re-actualize Hegel.”—Robert Pippin, author of Hegel’s Idealism

“A gifted speaker––tumultuous, emphatic, direct––and he writes
as he speaks.” —Jonathan Ree, Guardian

“The Hegel that Žižek loves is much like Žižek himself: a relentless iconoclast,
a restless wordsmith, an inventive thinker with a hatred of received wisdom,
an underminer of conventionally acknowledged truths. Žižek’s Hegel is a kind
of cosmic prankster.”—Bookforum

"A lucid rendering of modern society’s debt to Hegel."—Publisher’s Weekly

"The publication of Less Than Nothing is a major event in contemporary philosophy."—Hey, Small Press


From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times; First as Tragedy, Then as Farce; In Defense of Lost Causes; four volumes of the Essential Žižek; and many more.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678976
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"The most dangerous philosopher in the West," (says Adam Kirsch of The New Republic) Slavoj Zizek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include "First as Tragedy, Then as Farce;" "Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle;" "In Defense of Lost Causes;" "Living in the End Times;" and many more.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Åge Olav Mariussen, sociologist on May 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a warning: once you open this book and start to read, it is almost impossible to close it. There are great balls of fire jumping out every time you turn a page. Since the book contains 1038 pages, some of them must be read carefully, it may disrupt your plans, not just for the evening, but for the following days. What is especially provoking and enlightening is the way Zizek is positioning not just Hegel, but also Marx, in a Christian tradition. By turning Christianity upside down, and defining it as an atheist religion, he is able to make sense of the myths in a new and surprising way. And at the same time it suddenly is possible to see the links between Christianity, Marxism, and the Communism of Eastern Europe in a new way. His interpretation of Hegel is to me as a sociologist new and refreshing. Zizek not just defends Hegel in an admirable way, he clarifies the deep contemporary relevance of Hegel and his version of dialectical materialism in a way which demands attention, not just among philosophers, but also among sociologists trying to make sense of our contemporary political economy. In a work with this scope, it goes without saying, there are also ideas and sections which demands further work and discussion. My critical comment (after 500 pages) is the way Marx political economy is treated. Seen from the point of departure of Hegel, it is justified with a main emphasis on Capital Volume 2, on circulation, and the relation to modern financial capitalism, which are our time-travelers, borrowing money from the future, and destroying it. According to my opinion, Marx analysis of technology, which is crucial to the ways in which humans relate to nature, deserves more attention.Read more ›
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Zawn Villines on January 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It is a cardinal rule of pretentious academic existence that anyone who fancies herself a philosopher has to love Hegel. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time studying philosophy and even managed to pick up one of those fancy philosophy degrees that no one wants. But I'm just going to come right out and say it: I hate Hegel. I hate him so much that I seriously contemplated taking antidepressants during an undergraduate class on The Phenomenology of Spirit. I broke my computer trying to write a paper during the same class. And no, I didn't break it because I was typing furiously, inspired by new ideas. I broke it having a massive temper tantrum that has left my long-suffering dog permanently traumatized. Instead of re-reading Hegel to inspire further understanding (or further suicidal ideation), I responded to the Phenomenology of Spirit by making a video involving puppets, robots and a rapping dog all emphasizing exactly how much Hegel sucks. That is how much I hate this philosopher.

But the thing is, I really love Zizek. Even when he goes off on his insane rants wherein everything somehow ties back to Lacan, vampires or communism, I find myself swooning. I love him so much that I have spent a significant portion of my time trying to convince my husband that, were I to actually meet Zizek, we would immediately become best friends and would wear matching friendship bracelets. I've always ignored Zizek's respect for Hegel, thinking it was just one of his many weird predilections that I don't really need to understand.

But Zizek has sold me. Hegel is not all of the horrible things I have called him (but damnit, he is some of them). It took a crazed Slovenian philosopher to help me appreciate a crazed German one.
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41 of 58 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on May 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been bouncing around this Moby-Dick-of-a-book;I don't think a review is possible, you'd need some fractal organization--- and if you've followed Zizek's Lectures since 2006, this oeuvre makes for not only a nice compact, (yes compact) summary,but a development of those ideas presented in the past, many times in sketch form for a lecture.
All the opaque moments one found in Zizek are all now clarified in great detail, well some detail and conceptual scope. You learn to live with the jokes, or memorize them to repeat them at a bar, or to impress your endowed date.

But Zizek's engagements with spiritual life is again re-interated herein in great detail, Christianity, Judaism,What is ideology?, a never-ending question, and how is it represented the "monstrosities" we've all learned to live with.

You should not walk away from Zizek now with any sketch, and incompletedness of anything,it's all clear,comprehensive, all spelled out and,developed and you should have learned by now, that he presses,engages thought to its limits;it's own limits. Thought, the imagination not going as far as it can is reprehensible, odious, as Mao's Idealism,it's not worth our time anymore, to go half-way, half baked thought for short extension spans as the bytes "nouveau philosophes" in France a la, Glukesmann; It is not worth the time.

The book is critical of those in history, in the intellectual thought of Europa who met their own paradigms and tropes half way, as Kant, as Hegel,Rorty, in places,and as Lacan,those whom he loves.( Lacan did have fun in his last years with all those geometric metaphors topologies of the unconscious,the imagination) I'd throw in Lenin, Wittgenstein and Schoenberg I suspect, the Master,Maitre Lacan didn't mount the poll as far as he could. . .
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