University Press of Kansas Logo

Marcuse

From the New Left to the Next Left

Edited by John Bokina and Timothy J. Lukes

vi, 282 pages, 6 x 9
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-0659-7, $16.95

Book Cover ImageMarcuse brings back to center stage one of the most celebrated and controversial philosophers of the turbulent 1960s, the man Time magazine called the "guru of the New Left."

In Reason and Revolution, Eros and Civilization, One-Dimensional Man, and other notable works, Herbert Marcuse crystallized the essence of counterculture philosophy. His neo-Marxist critique of Western capitalism was widely embraced by revolutionaries, "hippies," and an entire generation of academics who condemned political, economic, and sexual repression in Amerian society. So complete was Marcuse's identification with the New Left that, with its demise, he and his works fell out of favor. But, as this volume persuasively demonstrates, Marcuse remains vitally relevant for us today.

Returning to Marcuse may recall the clash of idealistic exhuberance and tragic violence associated with Woodstock, Haight-Ashbury, the Vietnam War, 1968 Democratic Convention, Kent State, and Earth Day, as well as the passionate voices of anti-war and civil rights protesters, environmentalists, feminists, and free love advocates. But this volume does not cater to the simplistic nostalgia of aging baby-boomers.

Fifteen leading Marcuse scholars, including Marcuse's son Peter, assess the philosopher's ideas in the radically different theoretical and political contexts of the 1990s. The range of topics covered is distinctly contemporary--Foucault and postmodern theories, analytical Marxism and the demise of the Soviet Union, women's studies and feminist psychoanalytic theory, aesthetic consciousness and postmodern art, radical ecology and cybernetic technology--and includes Douglas Kellner's revealing first look at the unpublished manuscripts in the Marcuse Archives in Frankfurt.

Sure to excite liberal as well as irritate conservative culture warriors, these provocative essays illuminate the outlines of a Marcuse revival and the Next Left as both emerge to confront the complex challenges of our times.

"It was only a matter of time before Marcuse, whose star had waned so precipitously in the years after his death in 1979, would find a place in the new constellation of the 1990s. These lively and engaging essays go a long way towards demonstrating that he still has much to contribute to fin-de-siecle radical thought and practice."--Martin Jay, author of Fin-de Siecle Socialism and Marxism and Totality: The Adventures of a Concept from Lukacs to Habermas

"Is Marcuse also a thinker for the 1990s? This timely and exciting volume, written in a lively and truly engaging style, makes a strong case for the continued importance of Marcuse's thought. These essays are written in admiration and respect; but they are not mere celebrations. Rather, they honor Marcuse with thought-provoking questions and critiques that explore ways to carry his work forward. Used together with Marcuse's own writings, this book would make an excellent classroom text."--David Michael Levin, author of The Listening Self: Personal Growth, Social Change, and the Closure of Metaphysics

JOHN BOKINA is professor of political science at the University of Texas–Pan American and the author of numerous essays in journals such as Telos and the International Political Science Review.

TIMOTHY J. LUKES is associate professor of political science at Santa Clara University and the author of The Flight into Inwardness: An Exposition and Critique of Herbert Marcuse's Theory of Liberative Aesthetics.

CONTRIBUTORS: Ben Agger, C. Fred Alford, Isaac D. Balbus, Carol Becker, John Bokina, Paul Breines, Terrell Carver, Andrew Feenberg, Gad Horowitz, Douglas Kellner, Timothy W. Luke, Timothy J. Lukes, Peter Marcuse, Shierry Weber Nicholsen, Trudy Steuernagel

Facebook button