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A Heroism of the Decision, a Politics of the Event

Simon Critchley: Alain Badiou, 20 September 2007

by Alain Badiou, translated by Steven Corcoran.
Verso, 339 pp., £17.99, November 2006, 1 84467 089 9
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... In the Republic, Socrates and Plato’s brothers wander out of Athens and walk down to the port of Piraeus, leaving the city behind them. After quickly demolishing the prevailing views of justice in Athenian society, Socrates proceeds to dream of another city, a just city governed by philosophers whose souls would be oriented towards the Good. The familiar objection to Plato, that the ideal of the philosophical city is utopian or impossible to realise, is fatuous ...

To Be or Knot to Be

Adam Phillips, 10 October 2013

The Hamlet Doctrine 
by Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster.
Verso, 269 pp., £14.99, September 2013, 978 1 78168 256 2
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... In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche gives what Simon Critchley and Jamieson Webster call a ‘fascinating short interpretation’ of Hamlet, from which they take their title. They don’t think much of the book up to that point: it’s when he gets to Hamlet, they argue, that Nietzsche wakes up. This isn’t a view everyone would share, but it’s of a piece with the many assured judgments they make about Hamlet in the play with the most canonically self-doubting hero ...

Seeing Things Flat

Jenny Turner: Tom McCarthy’s ‘C’, 9 September 2010

by Tom McCarthy.
Cape, 310 pp., £16.99, August 2010, 978 0 224 09020 9
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... difficult to explain; perhaps I can edge towards what I mean by analogy. In 2004, the philosopher Simon Critchley – who has appeared on the INS platform – added a preface to the second edition of his book Very Little … Almost Nothing (1997), a study of Blanchot, Beckett and Wallace Stevens: Events circled around my father’s illness with lung ...

Resistance Is Surrender

Slavoj Žižek: What to Do about Capitalism, 15 November 2007

... The politics of resistance is nothing but the moralising supplement to a Third Way Left. Simon Critchley’s recent book, Infinitely Demanding, is an almost perfect embodiment of this position.* For Critchley, the liberal-democratic state is here to stay. Attempts to abolish the state failed ...


Jonathan Rée, 8 May 1997

Proper Names 
by Emmanuel Levinas, translated by Michael Smith.
Athlone, 191 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 485 11466 6
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Levinas: An Introduction 
by Colin Davis.
Polity, 168 pp., £39.50, November 1996, 0 7456 1262 8
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Basic Philosophical Writings 
by Emmanuel Levinas, edited by Adriaan Peperzak, Simon Critchley and Robert Bernasconi.
Indiana, 201 pp., £29.50, November 1996, 0 253 21079 8
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... For God’s sake leave me alone!’ ‘Why the hell should I?’ ‘What’s it to me anyway?’ That sort of unilateral declaration of indifference must be the starting point of nearly all family quarrels, and plenty of political catastrophes as well. ‘Why should I always give way to other people? Am I my brother’s keeper?’ But eventually the question will be turned sarcastically back on you ...

Wham Bang, Teatime

Ian Penman: Bowie, 5 January 2017

The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference 
by Paul Morley.
Simon & Schuster, 484 pp., £20, July 2016, 978 1 4711 4808 8
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On Bowie 
by Rob Sheffield.
Headline, 197 pp., £14.99, June 2016, 978 1 4722 4104 7
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On Bowie 
by Simon Critchley.
Serpent’s Tail, 207 pp., £6.99, April 2016, 978 1 78125 745 6
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Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy 
by Simon Reynolds.
Faber, 704 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 571 30171 3
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... things, how to conjure up a ‘black hole’ convincingly on stage.) One of the reasons I’m glad Simon Reynolds gives so much space to this earlier period (in his outsize but periodically acute history of Glam) is that it furnishes real clues to later Bowie, the Bowie of superstar myth, the master manipulator, one move ahead of everyone else. In his 1975 ...


Simon Hoggart, 24 April 1997

Michael Heseltine: A Biography 
by Michael Crick.
Hamish Hamilton, 496 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 241 13691 1
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... Picarda, a Liberal, though I’m fairly certain it was said by Heseltine’s old friend Julian Critchley. These speeches take an enormous amount out of him. He was desperate to prove that his heart attack in the summer of 1993 was caused by a blockage rather than a weakness in the heart itself. However, he took his doctors’ advice and skipped his annual ...

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