The Power of Negativity

The Power of Negativity : Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx

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Raya Dunayevskaya is hailed as the founder of Marxist-Humanism in the United States. In this new collection of her essays co-editors Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson have crafted a work in which the true power and originality of Dunayevskaya's ideas are displayed. This extensive collection of writings on Hegel, Marx, and dialectics captures Dunayevskaya's central dictum that, contrary to the established views of Hegelians and Marxists, Hegel was of signal importance to the theory and practice of Marxism. The Power of Negativity sheds light not only on Marxist-Humanism and the rooting of Dunayevskaya's Marxist-Humanist theories in Hegel, but also on the life of one of America's most penetrating and provocative critical thinkers.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 159 x 230 x 28mm | 662g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739102664
  • 9780739102664

Review quote

Dunayevskaya's brusque, unpretentious, and exclamatory epistolary style is exhilarating. Radical Philosophy Dunayevskaya writes, particularly in the letters and talks, like a person "drunk" on Hegel. But rather than causing her to lose control, this drunkeness is a measure of her intellectual excitement, an infectious one that gets transferred to her readers. She is especially good in linking Hegel, Marx, and Lenin. Her varied attempts to explain the importance of Hegel's absolute idea and theory of negation for the traditions that followed, but also for the hoped-for revolution, are as clear and convincing as any I 've seen from her pen. It's a truly impressive display, and one that will delight as well as instruct most readers. -- Bertell Ollman, New York University With the writings of Raya Dunayevskaya, the continent of revolutionary thought underwent a seismic shift, the world-historical reverberations of which we are still feeling today and which continue to grow stronger in this new millennium as the crisis of world capitalism intensifies. Dunayevskaya is one of the great revolutionary thinkers of the last century and her work on the dialectics of philosophy is unsurpassed in the development of Marxist humanism. Expertly edited by Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson, this volume is destined to become a classic. History bequeathes us few gifts, and it is up to the present generation of revolutionaries to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with Dunaveyskaya's most important ideas, condensed in this exceptional edited edition. -- Peter McLaren, Honorary Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Critical Studies, Northeast Normal University, China Brilliant theorist, committed activist, and passionate scholar, Raya Dunayevskaya was a role-model for my generation. We are fortunate to have her back in this wonderfully edited work that conveys the excitement of a time when, for Raya and her interlocutors (C.L.R James and Herbert Marcuse among others), philosophy and the struggle against social injustice were two sides of the same urgent endeavor. Her understanding of dialectics as a method whereby each generation has to discover its own revolutionary task, her insistence that Marxism means humanism in the most inclusive sense and that socialism means the social actualization of individual freedom - these are ideas that appear young and fresh against the weary and sophistic pessimism that dominates much theory in the academy today. And more: in contrast to the boring pap of commodified culture and political sound bites, Raya's interpretation makes the logic of Hegel's absolute idea a fascinating and compelling read. -- Susan Buck-Morss, Cornell University As we enter a new millennium, critical and dialectical thinking is more important than ever in charting the vicissitudes of capital and political struggle. Raya Dunayevskaya's writings on Hegelian and Marxian dialectics are highly insightful and relevant to the theory and politics of the contemporary moment. Thus Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson's collection of some of her most important writings provide access to a valuable theoretical and political legacy. -- Douglas Kellner, UCLA; author of Media Culture and Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy The Power of Negativity provides material for a unique exegetical experience. Overall, this collection offers a very unusual and stimulating reading of Hegel's philosophy that while on the one hand may appear out of date, on the other should encourage us to approach the problems of our contemporary world in a new light, namely, with a fresher look at Hegel. Hegel-Studien, September 2009 [This book] is the portrait of an exceptional mind at work, and a treasure trove of insights and provocative ideas. The matters Dunayevskaya brought forward remain of supreme historical importance. The editors have made this a labor of love, with fastidious footnoting, intertextual referencing, and a superb introduction. Dunayevskaya's courage and vitality shine through and through. -- Joel Kovel, Bard College The introduction by Peter Hudis and Kevin Anderson is a fine essay-so lucid and explicit yet sacrificing no complexity. It should be accessible to a range of people-students, or people recently stimulated to think about the nature of capitalism and the requirements of a different society, as well as longtime socialists who need the "placing" of Raya's thought as it's provided here. -- Adrienne Rich On The Introduction Dunayevskaya is a unique thinker for the twentieth century. She combines an involvement in freedom struggles with a very dep commitment to philosophical ideas and exploration... For those who have never read Dunayevskaya, this volume provides an excellent introduction. For those who have read her work, this is a volume that presents her total thought as a process. Review of Metaphysics A thorough, clear, and accessible introduction, written by Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson, explores the relationship of the dialectic to the nature of the present moment and the reationship of Dunayevskaya's work to contemporary issues in dialectical philosophy... This book makes a contribution to the clarification of theoretical issues that are central to the problem of transforming reality. Capital & Class Dunayevshaya..adds that the historic movement's reach for that solidarity in the human community needs to be met with a projection of Hegel's dialectic in relations to our own time's spirit. Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History For those already acquainted with Raya Dunayevskaya through one or more of her works, it provides fascinating background on the development of her thought. Studies In Marxism
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About Raya Dunayevskaya

Peter Hudis is a Chicago-based independent scholar. He is the author of Harry McShane and the Scottish Roots of Marxist-Humanism (1995). Kevin B. Anderson is Professor of Sociology at Northern Illinois University. He is author of Lenin, Hegel, and Western Marxim: A Critical Study (1995).
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Table of contents

Part 1 The Philosophic Moment of Marxist-Humanism Part 2 Studies in Hegalian and Marxian Dialectics, 1956-63 Part 3 Theory and Practice at a Turning Point, 1964-71 Part 4 After Philosophy and Revolution: Hegel's Absolutes and Marx's Humanism, 1972-81 Part 5 The Changed World and the Need for Philosophic New Beginnings, 1982-87
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