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Political and Cultural Lectures by Agnes Heller
This book is a collection of recent lectures by Agnes Heller, delivered all over the world. These essays are edited and introduced by the author of the most significant intellectual biography of her work, John Grumley. In these lectures, Heller engages one of her greatest strengths: to discover philosophy within the very flux of contemporary events. These bring together such timely topics as refugees, human rights, truth in politics and the contemporary university as well as perennial issues like the possibility of artistic representation of the Holocaust, the question whether revolutions are always betrayed, and the possibility of universality in the contemporary multicultural world.
Completed shortly before her death in 2019, Tragedy and Philosophy is the sum of Agnes Heller’s reflections on European history and culture, seen through the prism of Europe’s two unique literary creations: tragedy and philosophy. Part 1 traces their parallel history from ancient Athens to rebirth in early modern London and Paris. Part 2 explores the interactions between post-metaphysical philosophy and post-tragic drama from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries. Heller’s perspective is post-Hegelian: the story of European culture can only be told from its end, the generalization of modernity across the globe. In this sense Part 3 is Heller’s farewell to the grand narrative of European history and culture as well as her own personal farewell to philosophy.
This book is a masterpiece of critical theory. It provides an illuminating and original meta-theoretical account of Marx’s general views of critical economic theory. Sympathetic to the general aims of Marx, it also excavates the internal contradictions of the Marxian theory with unparalleled care. Written in Hungarian in the early 1970s, it was censored by the communist authorities immediately after its completion. Its belated publication in English signifies a major boon for research scholars in a range of disciplines, including philosophy, political economy, Marxism, intellectual history, and Eastern European studies.