Philosophy, Society and the Cunning of History in Eastern Europe charts the intellectual landscape of twentieth century East-Central Europe under the unifying theme of 'precariousness' as a mode of historical existence. Caught between empires, often marked by catastrophic historic events and grand political failures, the countries of East-Central Europe have for a long time developed a certain intellectual self-representation, a culture that not only helps them make some sense of such misfortunes, but also protects them somehow from a collapse into nihilism. An interdisciplinary study of this sophisticated culture of survival and endurance has been long overdue. Not only is it charming and worth studying in its own right, but with the re-integration of the 'new Europe' into the 'old' one and the emergence on the 'Western' European intellectual scene of many authors from the 'East,' such a culture will also shape the European mind of the 21st century. This volume decodes and explores this culture of 'precariousness' from the complementary angles of philosophy, political theory, intellectual history and literary studies. Expert contributors look at a wide range of topics, from philosophical martyrdom to collective suffering to geographical fatalism, and explore the works of key authors in the field including Cioran, Kołakowski, Kertész, Bauman and Žižek.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Angelaki: The Journal of the Theoretical Humanities.
1. Introduction: Philosophy, Geography, Fragility Costica Bradatan Part I: UNCOMFORTABLE IDENTITIES 2. Interwar Southeastern Europe Confronts the West. The New Generation: Cioran, Yanev, Popović Keith Hitchins 3. Poststructuralism in Georgia: The Phenomenology of the "Objects-Centaurs" of Merab Mamardashvili Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover 4. What is Eastern Europe? A Philosophical Approach Julia Sushytska Part II: GEOGRAPHIES OF PAIN 5. On the Meaning of Life in the Age of the Most Meaningless Death Costica Bradatan 6. Apocalyptic Writing, Trauma and Community in Imre Kertész's Fateless Magdalena Zolkos 7. On Happiness in Unusual Places: N. Steinhardt’s Uplifting Lesson Aurelian Craiutu Part III: SERVING THE MUSES UNDER STRESS 8. The Fragility of It All Krzysztof Michalski 9. Familiar affairs: Tracing Croatian Theoretical Normality Aleksandar Mijatović and Aljoša Pužar 10. Latin as a sign of life? The reception of the ancient tradition as a marker in the analysis of the Sovietization process in Poland Jerzy Axer Part IV: 1989 11. The Revolutions of 1989: Twenty Years Later Michael Bernhard 12. Marx on 1989 G. M. Tamás 13. Jamming the Critical Barrels: The Legacies of Totalitarian Thinking Aviezer Tucker Part V: THE NEW EUROPE 14. Voices from Central Europe: Bauman, Kertész and Žižek in Search of Europe Mare van den Eeden 15. Europe in the Mode of As If: Józef Tischner's Góral Philosophy Anita Starosta 16. Europe Speaks: Linguistic Diversity and Politics Jan Sokol