This sixth and final volume of Marcuse's collected papers shows Marcuse’s rejection of the prevailing twentieth-century Marxist theory and socialist practice - which he saw as inadequate for a thorough critique of Western and Soviet bureaucracy - and the development of his revolutionary thought towards a critique of the consumer society. Marcuse's later philosophical perspectives on technology, ecology, and human emancipation sat at odds with many of the classic tenets of Marx’s materialist dialectic which placed the working class as the central agent of change in capitalist societies. As the material from this volume shows, Marcuse was not only a theorist of Marxist thought and practice in the twentieth century, but also proves to be an essential thinker for understanding the neoliberal phase of capitalism and resistance in the twenty-first century.
A comprehensive introduction by Douglas Kellner and Clayton Pierce places Marcuse’s philosophy in the context of his engagement with the main currents of twentieth century philosophy while also providing important analyses of his anticipatory theorization of capitalist development through a neoliberal restructuring of society. The volume concludes with an afterword by Peter Marcuse.
The material in this volume is a rich collection of many of Marcuse’s published and unpublished writings, interviews and talks, including ‘Lyric Poetry after Auschwitz’, reflections on Proust, and Letters on Surrealism; a poem by Samuel Beckett for Marcuse’s eightieth birthday with exchange of letters; and many articles that explore the role of art in society and how it provides possibilities for liberation.
This volume will be of interest to those new to Marcuse, generally acknowledged as a major figure in the intellectual and social milieus of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as to the specialist, giving access to a wealth of material from the Marcuse Archive in Frankfurt and his private collection in San Diego, some of it published here in English for the first time.
A comprehensive introduction by Douglas Kellner reflects on the genesis, development, and tensions within Marcuse’s aesthetic, while an afterword by Gerhard Schweppenhäuser summarizes their relevance for the contemporary era.