Demanding the Impossible (2013) Slavoj Žižek 

18118862Interview of Zizek by Korean scholars in book form, not much new ground for readers of his other recent work. Books, other interviews, you tube gabfests. Not a great place to start if you have not read him before, better to wrestle with his written stuff. For me he is a launch pad into continuing effort to understand three big ideas: dialectical thinking… he often gives vivid unexpected examples of one thing turning into its opposite (Hegel); ideology and other tricky stuff along the lines of commodity fetishism (Marx); and the new bit for me, psychoanalysis and the triad Real, Imaginary, Symbolic (Lacan). The attraction of his prose for me is his range.. Aristotle, Lenin, and Popeye the Sailor in one paragraph. [made that up.. you get the point :-)]

Mapping Ideology (1995) Slavoj Žižek

289666Great selection, many are classics of what I suppose is meant by the designation “Western Marxism.” Lucacs, Althusser, Jameson, Eagleton, Bourdieu.. more. Problem: Zizek introduction does not serve the reader very well, except as an ok encounter with his writing. Does not set up the essays, how they relate, reception,etc.. Publisher Verso did not add any help here either. Very minor attention to where they first appeared, where they stand in relation to the rest of authors work.

The Sublime Object of Ideology, Slavoj Žižek (1989)

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Zizek’s first book. Very difficult to penetrate, much less enjoy, for dozens of pages at a time. But having read several of his later and more accessible works I remained committed to pushing on. Lacan and Hegel. Lacan and Hegel. Lacan and Hegel. It actually works.. which is to say I am now in a position to better understand these two essential ingredients in Zizek’s oeuvre: Hegelian dialectics and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Now to get a grip on his approach to Marx and Christianity. Throw in Alfred Hitchcock, Batman, and Kung Fu Panda: mix thoroughly.

Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (2015) Slavoj Žižek

 

Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and SlavojThis is a little book that serves as an enticing introduction to the Russia of the imprisoned Pussy Riot performance provocateurs. Nadya T. is serving two years in a forced labor camp for the crime of “blasphemy” (Tsarist era law to protect religious orthodoxy brought back by Putin). Halfway through her time she manages to strike up a correspondence with the Slovenian philosophical provocateur Slavoj Zizek. They are very warm exchanges on political struggle, artistic expression and freedoms.. and very solid agreement that post 1989 Russia and much of the former Soviet satellite east are now suffering the worst of “both worlds.” Stalinism continues– her experience in the Siberian Gulag 2012 is no different than that level of existence and misery that millions lived through as a result of their crimes (thoughts/words/music/painting) against the state AND a state capitalism to boot! She is out now and hopefully the two will collaborate again, with their increased global celebrity status they will be listened to.