What do we know about Hegel? What do we know about Marx? What do we know about democracy and totalitarianism? Communism and psychoanalysis? What do we know that isn’t a platitude that we’ve heard a thousand times – or a self-satisfied certainty? Through his brilliant reading of Hegel, Slavoj Žižek – one of the most provocative and widely-read thinkers of our time – upends our traditional understanding, dynamites every cliche and undermines every conviction in order to clear the ground for new ways of answering these questions.
When Lacan described Hegel as the ‘most sublime hysteric’, he was referring to the way that the hysteric asks questions because he experiences his own desire as if it were the Other’s desire. In the dialectical process, the question asked of the Other is resolved through a reflexive turn in which the question begins to function as its own answer. We had made Hegel into the theorist of abstraction and reaction, but by reading Hegel with Lacan, Žižek unveils a Hegel of the concrete and of revolution – his own, and the one to come.
This early and dazzlingly original work by Žižek offers a unique insight into the ideas which have since become hallmarks of his mature thought. It will be of great interest to anyone interested in critical theory, philosophy and contemporary social thought.