past events

 ( C o u n t e r – ) R e v o l u t i o n s

> reading-group-slash-seminar on political literature, literary politics, theo-/demonology

> Trinity Term 2015, weeks 4 –7

> Tuesdays, 7.30 pm, Exeter College, Stapledon Room


> Email us, we’ll email you the excerpts up for discussion:

Therese Feiler (Arts Foundation Saxony-Anhalt, D.Phil.)

OR Michael Mayo (Stipendiary Lecturer in English, Exeter College)


Week 4: Political Demonology Carl Schmitt

Schmitt, “crown jurist of the Nazis,” remains highly thought-provoking. We aim to unpack his reading of Hamlet in the light of some of his political works only recently made available in English.

Excerpts from: On Dictatorship (1919/2013), Hamlet and Hecuba (1956/2009), Concept of the Political.


Week 5: Tragedy and the Messianic Walter Benjamin 

In a letter dated 1930 to Schmitt, Benjamin humbly declares his indebtedness to Schmitt’s On Dictatorship. Through this contradiction, we read Benjamin’s complex literary [theo-]politics.

Excerpts from: The Origin of German Tragic Drama (1925), On the Concept of History (1940).


Week 6: Dualism/Dissolution Theodor W. Adorno

If there could be “no poetry after Auschwitz”, mass commodification would surge in its place. We look at Adorno’s crossroads of aesthetics and revolutionary (Gnostic?) politics.

Excerpts from: The Dialectics of the Enlightenment (1947), On Music (varia), Minima Moralia (1951)


Week 7: Contemporaries Mad Men

Just as the finale of this (counter-)revolutionary TV series hits the screens, we’d like to discuss its hype and hopes, Don Draper and his demons. We’ll draw on Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch too.

Excerpts from: Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia (1918), The Principle of Hope (1954), and R. Faber, Political Demonology (2007)