By Keith Tester
This publication is normally stimulating, containing many attention-grabbing and provocative principles on matters relevant either to social idea and to creating experience of the world(s) during which we are living. It develops a sequence of unique photographs or metaphors - gardens v. allotments, double strangers etc - as aids to figuring out social approaches. full of life, daring and warranted it is going to curiosity scholars of social idea, political technological know-how and philosophy.
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Extra resources for The Two Sovereigns: Social Contradictions of European Modernity
The problems of modernity were, then, nothing if not immensely complex since all the promises of freedom and social self-sufficiency could only be realized by the very social groups which were potentially also open to anathematization. That difficulty was avoided in so far as certain groups which were doubly strange could claim to possess certain magical abilities which set them apart from everyone else, and to the extent that they could make their exclusive position and practices seem quite natural and, therefore, outside of the social realm which was in all other respects utterly changeable.
It is unquestionably a milestone on the highway of world history’ (Gellner 1990: 310). Images of the new beginning, and the exhaustion or the collapse of the reified old systems abound in the iconography of the French Revolutionary period. One of the best known and richest of those icons is Jacques Louis David’s painting of Marat, dead in the bath tub. Although the prospect of a dead man in a bath might be rather pathetic, the painting avoids bathos by means of an apparent harking back to the grandiosity of antiquity.
Now, the epithet ‘intellectual’ is turned into a term of abuse which means that the individual could never be a full participant in social relationships. Like Kundera but of course in rather different circumstances, Saul Bellow has also realized that intellectuals are capable of only a strange relationship to the existing order of things. Bellow’s character Charlie Citrine was so interested in books that he was unable to form reciprocal relationships: ‘I had talked all the time about my Modern Library books, of poetry and history, and she was afraid that she would disappoint me’ (Bellow 1975: 76; see also Kundera 1982: 5).