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Michael Löwy, "Marxism and Romantic Anticapitalism"

Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 4:45pm

Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin-Smith Hall
ICM Lecture Series

Emeritus Research Director at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)
Lecturer, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

The origins of Marxism are traditionally understood as a product of the confluence of German philosophy, French socialism and British political economy. Michael Löwy argues that there is a fourth ‘hidden moment’ that was as important in shaping Marx and Engels critique of capitalism and their utopian vision of an emancipated society. While neither Marx or Engels can be considered Romantic thinkers, there are substantial affinities between their ideas and Romanticism, understood as a cultural protest against bourgeois industrial civilization in the name of pre-capitalist values. The lecture will reassess and explore this neglected dimension of Romantic anticapitalism in the intellectual heritage of Marxism.

Michael Löwy was born in Brazil in 1938 and has lived in Paris since 1969. He is currently Emeritus Research Director at the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research), and lecturer at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. A prolific author, his books and articles have been published and translated into twenty-nine languages, and include: George Lukács: From Romanticism to Bolshevism (Verso 1981); Jewish Libertarian Thought in Central Europe: A Study in Elective Affinity (Stanford UP 1992); Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity [with Robert Sayre] (Duke UP 2001); Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘One the Concept of History’ (Verso 2005); Franz Kafka: Subversive Dreamer (Michigan UP 2016).

This event is free and open to the public. If you need accommodations to participate in this event, please contact as soon as possible.

Image Credit:  William Blake, "The Angel Michael Binding Satan ('He Cast him into the Bottomless Pit, and Shut him up'), c. 1805, Drawing.

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