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The New Spinoza

1997

Warren Montag and Ted Stolze, editors
Translated by Ted Stolze

The New Spinoza

Modeled on The New Nietzsche, this collection revitalizes the thought of Spinoza.

These essays, most of them appearing in English for the first time, establish Spinoza’s rightful role in the development and direction of contemporary continental philosophy.

Contributors: Gabriel Albiac, Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, Gilles Deleuze, Emilia Giancotti, Luce Irigaray, Pierre Macherey, Alexandre Matheron, Pierre-François Moreau, Antonio Negri, and André Tosel.

This is now the best single volume available to explain, explore, and exemplify the crucial contributions of the current revaluation of Spinoza's philosophy. These essays deliver stunning insights into the current "crisis" of theory: from the modernist-postmodernist confrontation across all disciplines to the Althusserian revolution within Marxism to the global revival of neoliberalism.

Richard D. Wolff, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The New Spinoza

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To see the presence of Spinoza, Louis Althusser once quipped, “one must at least have heard of him.” The essays collected in this volume suggest that what applies to Althusser applies to his whole generation-that Spinoza is an unsuspected but very real presence in the work of contemporary philosophers from Deleuze and Lacan to Foucault and Derrida. The New Spinoza articulates that presence, making the influence and significance of Spinoza perfectly clear for a new generation of philosophy.

Whereas studies of Spinoza in English have emphasized the logic of the Ethics, these essays instead focus on the marginal and developmental moments that have had such a profound effect on French thought. To that end, the authors concentrate on Spinoza’s conception of substance, an implicit rejection of teleology and transcendence; antihumanism and anti-individualism in his works; his rejection of the classical juridical conception of rights and obligations; and his critique of biblical hermeneutics.

These essays, most of them appearing in English for the first time, establish Spinoza’s rightful role in the development and direction of contemporary continental philosophy. The volume should interest not only the growing group of scholars attracted to Spinoza’s thought on ethics, politics, and subjectivity, but also theorists in a variety of fields who have not yet understood how their work can productively engage Spinoza.

Contributors: Gabriel Albiac, Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, Gilles Deleuze, Emilia Giancotti, Luce Irigaray, Pierre Macherey, Alexandre Matheron, Pierre-François Moreau, Antonio Negri, André Tosel.

The New Spinoza

Warren Montag is assistant professor of English and comparative literary studies at Occidental College and author of The Unthinkable Swift: The Spontaneous Philosophy of a Church of England Man (1994). Ted Stolze, a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Claremont Graduate School in California, has published articles on Macherey, Deleuze, Marxism, and Balibar.

The New Spinoza

This is now the best single volume available to explain, explore, and exemplify the crucial contributions of the current revaluation of Spinoza's philosophy. These essays deliver stunning insights into the current "crisis" of theory: from the modernist-postmodernist confrontation across all disciplines to the Althusserian revolution within Marxism to the global revival of neoliberalism.

Richard D. Wolff, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Montag and Stolze's The New Spinoza provides challenging and innovative readings of the old classic, now made modern so that he is relevant and interesting for the contemporary era. The editors have brought together a variety of important texts which present to us a materialist, democratic, and complex ethical philosophy that is open and multiple in its relations and effects, a Spinoza for our times and the times to come.

Douglas Kellner, University of Texas, Austin

This is a spectacular volume, long overdue, but perhaps only readable now. These essays establish the centrality of Spinoza’s influence on contemporary critical theory, and show that we have, as it were, been speaking about him all along. Here is not only Spinoza on desire, attribute, power, nature, cause, substance, the absolute, the infinite, and freedom that becomes illuminated anew, but the scene of persecution, ‘the empty synagogue,’ the problem of censorship and radical dissent. French Marxism turns out to be less structuralist than surmised or, equivalently, structuralism turns out to have its history in Spinoza’s unparalleled theology of desire.

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley