A Selection of Slavoj Žižek’s Book Blurbs

by Daniel Hartley

Over the last year or so I’ve become increasingly struck by the melodramatic book blurbs which Slavoj Žižek has written for a variety of books. Here is a small selection.

On Eric Santner’s On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life:
“I wonder how many people will be aware, when taking this book into their hands, that they are holding one of the key texts of the last hundred years – that a new classic is being born, on a par with Heidegger and Wittgenstein.”

On Alain Badiou’s Theory of the Subject:
“A rare achievement, a true philosophical classic, comparable to only two or three books in the twentieth century, such as Heidegger’s Being and Time. The difference is that, if Being and Time left its mark on twentieth-century thought, Theory of the Subject announces the thought of the twenty-first century. It opens up the path that Badiou followed in his two later classics, Being and Event and Logics of Worlds, but it enforces this opening with a violent freshness which far surpasses its later developments. So beware, reader: when you open this book, you hold in your hands proof that philosophers of the status of Plato, Hegel and Heidegger are still walking around today!”

On Adam Kotsko’s Awkwardness:
“It is easy to write a deep book on a big crucial concept like anxiety love or evil but it takes a true master to do for awkwardness what Heidegger in his Sein und Zeit did for anxiety and this is what Kotsko does. In his book which combines philosophical stringency with references to popular culture awkwardness is elevated into a universal singularity: a prismatic knot in which our entire historical moment is reflected. If this will not become an instant classic then we really live in awkward times.”

On Terry Eagleton’s Trouble With Strangers:
“Written in Eagleton’s very readable, clear and witty style, this book may achieve the unthinkable: bridging the gap between academic High Thought and popular philosophy manuals.”

On Eric Santner’s The Royal Remains:
“Eric Santner’s The Royal Remains stands out, not only as the most important book on political philosophy of the last decade, but as a classic at the level of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Critique of Violence’ or Ernst Kantorowicz’s The King’s Two Bodies. It prolongs their analyses into today’s world of micro-politics, raising the key question of what happens to the king’s other sublime body in a democratic society where the people-collectively-are the new sovereign. My reaction to reading this book is of wonder and awe; it is as if a new Benjamin (with the added features of Freud and Lacan) is walking among us.”