1st Edition

The Longing for Total Revolution Reconsidered Rousseau, Marx, Nietzsche, and Modernity

Edited By Jeffrey Friedman Copyright 2023
    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    In The Longing for Total Revolution: Philosophic Sources of Discontent from Rousseau to Marx and Nietzsche (1986), the eminent intellectual historian and political theorist Bernard Yack offered a sweeping reinterpretation of modern thought. Yack argued that Rousseau prompted a line of philosophy that continued through Kant, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche, which viewed the essential spirit of modernity as dehumanizing, and therefore implied, in a matter that became increasingly clear over time, that a total revolution against modernity is necessary.

    In this volume, seven political theorists and historians, including Yack himself, reconsider the book’s substantive and methodological innovations, its limitations, and its current relevance. Contributors to the volume discuss, inter alia, left Kantianism in historical context, the theological origins of the longing for total revolution, the question of whether the tradition identified by Yack is connected to twentieth-century totalitarianism, and the unique form of critical genealogy pioneered by Yack’s book. The volume concludes with Yack’s response to the other contributors’ chapters.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of the Critical Review.

    Introduction: The Longing for Total Revolution as Critical but Ideational Genealogy 
    Jeffrey Friedman 
    1. The Theological Origins and Underpinning of the Longing for Total Revolution 
    Michael Allen Gillespie 
    2. Is Marx’s Thought on Freedom Contradictory? 
    Jan Kandiyali 
    3. Left- Kantian Perfectionism 
    Douglas Moggach 
    4. Reading Yack While Pondering the Origins of Totalitarianism 
    David D. Roberts 
    5. Longing for Total Dichotomies 
    Leslie Paul Thiele 
    6. Revisiting The Longing for Total Revolution 
    Bernard Yack 


    Jeffrey Friedman, the Editor of Critical Review, is Visiting Scholar in the Social Studies program at Harvard University, USA. He has taught political theory at Barnard College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Yale University, and is the author of Power Without Knowledge: A Critique of Technocracy (2019).