No figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admiredNo figure among the western Marxist theoreticians has loomed larger in the postwar period than Louis Althusser. A rebel against the Catholic tradition in which he was raised, Althusser studied philosophy and later joined both the faculty of the Ecole normal superieure and the French Communist Party in 1948. Viewed as a "structuralist Marxist," Althusser was as much admired for his independence of intellect as he was for his rigorous defense of Marx. The latter was best illustrated in For Marx (1965), and Reading Capital (1968). These works, along with Lenin and Philosophy (1971) had an enormous influence on the New Left of the 1960s and continues to influence modern Marxist scholarship.
This classic work, which to date has sold more than 30,000 copies, covers the range of Louis Althusser's interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, psychology, aesthetics, and political science.
Marx, in Althusser's view, was subject in his earlier writings to the ruling ideology of his day. Thus for Althusser, the interpretation of Marx involves a repudiation of all efforts to draw from Marx's early writings a view of Marx as a "humanist" and "historicist."
Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser's essay on Lenin's study of Hegel; a major essay on the state, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," "Freud and Lacan: A letter on Art in Reply to Andr� Daspre," and "Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract." The book opens with a 1968 interview in which Althusser discusses his personal, political, and intellectual history....more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 13th 2001 by Monthly Review Press (first published 1971)
Introduction by Fredric Jameson
“Today we are in a position to return to Althusser’s work in a new way, and make a new assessment of it,” writes Fredric Jameson in his Introduction to this new edition of Louis Althusser’s Lenin and Philosophy.
No figure loomed larger than Althusser in Marxist thought in the West during the 1960s and 70s—the decades in which the Soviet model was discredited in the West and new avenues opened up in Marxist philosophy and politics. Althusser stood out for his attempt to define a Marxist philosophy that was rigorous, scientific, and revolutionary. In the process he set new standards of argumentation for Marxist theory.
As Jameson shows in his introduction, the essays that had so massive and fertile an influence in those decades continue to speak to us today. From these essays there emerges a conception of Marxism as something more and other than a philosophy, whose “concepts are also forms of practice, so that one cannot simply debate them in a disinterested philosophical way without the uncomfortable intervention of practical positions and commitments.”
This classic work covers the broad range of Althusser’s interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, pyschology, aesthetics, and politics. It includes his major essay on “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” This path-breaking analysis of ideology has inspired a range of recent approaches to this field, which remains central to our own time.
Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser’s essay on Lenin’s study of Hegel; “Freud and Lacan” his “Letter on Art,” and “Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract”. The book opens with a 1968 interview in which he discusses his personal, political and intellectual history.
Louis Althusser (1918 – 1990) studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and taught philosophy there from 1948. His books include For Marx and Reading Capital, both initially published in 1965, and Machiavelli and Us, published posthumously in 1999. He was a member of the French Communist Party and an independent voice within the French left. Fredric Jameson is the pre-eminent Marxist writer on literature and culture today. His recent works include Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism and The Cultural Turn. He is chair of the Program in Literature at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
An extremely valuable collection of essays.