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Trilogy of Resistance

2011
Author:

Antonio Negri
Translated by Timothy S. Murphy
Afterword by Barbara Nicolier

Trilogy of Resistance

The first collection of plays—provocative political dramas—by the coauthor of the best-selling book Empire

With Trilogy of Resistance, the political philosopher Antonio Negri extends his intervention in contemporary politics and culture into a new medium: drama. The three plays collected for the first time in this volume dramatize the central concepts of the innovative and influential thought he has articulated in his best-selling books Empire and Multitude, coauthored with Michael Hardt.

Trilogy of Resistance is fascinating. These plays advance Antonio Negri’s philosophical and political project, one of the few genuine adventures in contemporary radical thought. In their language and conception they belong to the main trajectory of Negri’s work, yet they also swerve away in surprising directions, gathering echoes from ancient and modern literature to give theory a new voice. It is a book full of affective power, conceptual daring, and political courage.

Richard Dienst, Rutgers University

With Trilogy of Resistance, the political philosopher Antonio Negri extends his intervention in contemporary politics and culture into a new medium: drama. The three plays collected for the first time in this volume dramatize the central concepts of the innovative and influential thought he has articulated in his best-selling books Empire and Multitude, coauthored with Michael Hardt.

In the tradition of Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller, Negri’s political dramas are designed to provoke debate around the fundamental questions they raise about resistance, violence, and tyranny. In Swarm, the protagonist searches for an effective mode of activism; with the help of a Greek-style chorus, she tries on different roles, from the suicide bomber and party apparatchik to the multitude. The Bent Man, set in fascist Italy, focuses on a woodcutter who resists fascism by bending himself in two and using his own now-twisted body as a weapon against war. In Cithaeron, perhaps the most audacious of the three plays, Negri reworks Euripides’s Bacchae to explore the circumstances that would compel a diverse and creative community to withdraw from both the despotic government that constrains it and the traditional family relationships that reinforce that despotism.

First published in France in 2009 and featuring an introduction by Negri, Trilogy of Resistance provides a direct and passionate distillation of Negri’s concepts and offers insights into one of the most important projects in political philosophy currently under way, as well as a timely reminder of the power of theater to effectively dramatize complex and challenging ideas.

Trilogy of Resistance

Antonio Negri, who has taught at the University of Padua and the University of Paris, is the author of more than thirty books, including Empire and Multitude, with Michael Hardt; Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State (Minnesota, 1999); The Savage Anomaly (Minnesota, 2000); and In Praise of the Common, with Cesare Casarino (Minnesota, 2008).

Timothy S. Murphy is associate professor of English at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author of Antonio Negri and Wising Up the Marks: The Amodern William Burroughs.

Barbara Nicolier is a director living in Paris. She premiered many of Negri's plays for the stage and performed the French version of Trilogy of Resistance for a radio broadcast.

Trilogy of Resistance

Trilogy of Resistance is fascinating. These plays advance Antonio Negri’s philosophical and political project, one of the few genuine adventures in contemporary radical thought. In their language and conception they belong to the main trajectory of Negri’s work, yet they also swerve away in surprising directions, gathering echoes from ancient and modern literature to give theory a new voice. It is a book full of affective power, conceptual daring, and political courage.

Richard Dienst, Rutgers University

In a rare venture into the literary realm, Antonio Negri has put forth theory that is more easily enacted and embodied than anything he has previously produced. In the wake of crippling austerity and the broad failure, or at least dormancy, or movements such as Occupy, the generative potential of exodus as a process that at once incites both escape and engagement proves the pedagogical value of Negri’s plays.

Harrington Weihl, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Trilogy of Resistance

Translator’s Note
Translator’s Introduction: Pedagogy of the Multitude
Trilogy of Resistance
Preface
Swarm: Didactics of the Militant (2004)
The Bent Man: Didactics of the Rebel (2005)
Cithaeron: Didactics of Exodus (2006)
Afterword: Staging the Plays Barbara Nicolier
Translator’s Notes