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The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? Paperback – November 17, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Righteously to battle the tsunami of postmodern spiritual mush, Žižek attempts a reconciliation between Marxism and Christianity, eccentrically (against Nietzsche) trying to recuperate St Paul for the radical Christian.”—Steven Poole, The Guardian

“With his characteristically frenetic and dizzying display of wit, Žižek will entertain and offend, but never bore.”—The Stranger

“The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades.”—Terry Eagleton

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

  • Series: Wo Es War Series
  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843260
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on June 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
A self-described "fighting atheist," though not a very conventional one, and an avowed Marxist, though not a very typical or orthodox one, Žižek writes rooted deeply within Lacanian psychoanalysis in order to produce some of the most intriguing, bewildering, and relevant philosophy concerned with post-modern conundrums such as relativism, agency, and subjecthood.
Žižek 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 Žižek `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.
Žižek 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, Žižek 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.
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21 of 35 people found the following review helpful By joshua on December 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Okay, I know Zizek is a Lacanian, but I was hoping that he'd get beyond his neo-Freudianism in this book--considering that its billed as an intersection between Marx and Christianity. Indeed, the topic is very intriguing and Zizek's fundamental thesis--that Christianity should be saved and joined with Marxism--is compelling. I especially liked his treatment of "agape"...
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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3 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
zizek is trapped in lacan, hegel, heidegger...he has no solution to the loss of subjectivity because these philosophers are the reason for objectification...zizek, zisk means 'profit'...just like the greek myths were meant to instill mass objectification among its subjects, so too, the modern re-introduction via freud, lacan circulate the same objectivity, paramount for capital and social order, pretending to solve its enigma, the solution is the reason and cause...it all justifies objectivity by arguing the ultimate loss of self and realm of Other and chaos...its tautological...its fraudulent...the last chapter deals with Christianity, sort-of, the rest is weird lacanian, hegel mumbo...this is why zizek is popular, he has no solution nor wants one...read baudrillard if you are really interested in how capital controls
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3 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Zizek at his all time high (takes Lacan with him)!
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2 of 40 people found the following review helpful By E. Byrne on November 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This writing is what brings out the positivist in the best of us. Nonsense from beginning to end. What would Wittgenstein not say?
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