Paperback, 6×8 in., B/W, 560pp.
Publication date: April 16, 2019 (2nd ed.); November 20, 2015
Thema: DNL, GBCQ
Categories: Literary Studies, Philosophy
The vision of history illuminating these pages is not the conventional one of progress, but the much more radical one of Rousseauism: a ‘left-wing nostalgia’ that performs a detour through the past—a world anterior to privilege and hypocrisy—with the aim not of restoring it, but of giving it a radically new form.
~ Michael Löwy, Le Monde diplomatique
Through the prism of criticism, the modalities of thinking form a spectrum: on one end, systematic exposition, on the other, the fragment. It is the latter, fragmentary approach that distinguishes Matches—an investigation that does not focus on a single theme developed in all its aspects but, rather, on a constellation of themes in art, literature, philosophy, science, social and political thought, as well as the human in relation to history and nature.
S.D. Chrostowska pursues here in performative fashion her research into the history of critique from the Enlightenment onward. Her choice of the fragment—in the tradition of writing represented by Gracián, Chamfort, Lichtenberg, and, closer to us, Nietzsche, Adorno, and Benjamin—does not, however, stem from an attempt to comprehend the contemporary world, which can only be done after the fact. Instead, served by an expressive and incisive style, Matches foregrounds the necessary elements for a critique of our time, capturing them in their contradictory and complementary relations. It situates itself under the sign of the future, reviving the spirit of utopia, reminding us that the last word need not belong to the present.
We must imagine a new inflammable “chain of visionaries” formed by the lighters of fuses: the Benjamin of Paris, Capital of the 19th Century, the Foucault of The Archaeology of Knowledge, and now Sylwia Chrostowska and her Matches.
~ Martin Rueff, Critique
S.D. Chrostowska is Professor of Humanities and Social & Political Thought at York University in Canada. Author of Literature on Trial (UTP, 2012) and Permission (Dalkey Archive, 2013), she also coedited Political Uses of Utopia (Columbia University Press, 2017).