The Politics of Authenticity
Radical Individualism and the Emergence of Modern Society
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Paperback with free ebook
325 pages / November 2009 / 9781844674404

Not in stock

July 2020 / 9781789605105
Hardback with free ebook
325 pages / November 2009 / 9781844674411

Not in stock

An examination of authenticity as a revolutionary concept.

In this acclaimed exploration of the search for “authentic” individual identity, Marshall Berman explores the historical experiences and needs out of which this new radicalism arose. Focussing on eighteenth-century Paris, a time and place in which a distinctively modern form of society was just coming into its own, Berman shows how the ideal of authenticity—of a self that could organize the individual’s energy and direct it toward his own happiness—articulated eighteenth-century man’s deepest responses to this brave new world, and his most ardent hope for a new life in it. Exploring in particular the ideas of Montesquieu and Rousseau, Berman shows how the ideal of authenticity was radically opposed to the bourgeois, capitalistic idea of “self-interest.”


“Marshall Berman is one of our liveliest and most generous interpreters of Marx...brimming with ideas and romance. He can help us learn to create ourselves while we try to change the world.”

“Berman's writing is scholarly but jargon-free, anchored in modern references but with a strong sense of history, and animated by a generous sympathy. He represents what's best in the Marxist tradition.”

“We must admire Marshall Berman's audacity...Berman persuasively argues that Marx's theory of alienation can best explain the awful consequences of capitalism, even when workers toil at computers rather than assembly lines.”

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