Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Coming to Terms with Defeat - An Interview with Enzo Traverso

Enzo Traverso is one of the most interesting writers I've encountered in the last couple of years.  A radical historian of ideas, he teaches now at Cornell, but has a background on the Italian far left.  His Fire and Blood, published in 2015, is a remarkable intellectual history of the World Wars of the twentieth century, conceived as a great and terrible European civil war.  The End of Jewish Modernity is a sad and grim stock-taking of the fate of the great Jewish contribution to European Enlightenment - from Spinoza to Benjamin - and its decline with the advent of Jewish ethnic nationalism, that is, Zionism.  A new pair of books is on the way, led  by Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History and Memory (out from Columbia last month), where Traverso suggests resources for the reinvention of the contemporary left in the melancholy of defeat.  Here is an interview with Traverso, reprinted on the Verso Books website, but first published by Libération and translated by David Broder:

"The Left is a history of defeats": an interview with Enzo Traverso


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