A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto

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    China Miéville

    Publisher: Haymarket Books

    Year: 2022

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 304 pages

    ISBN: 9781642598919

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China Miéville's strikingly imaginative new introduction to the Communist Manifesto offers both a critical appraisal and a spirited defense of the modern world's most influential political document.

Few written works can so confidently claim to have shaped the course of history as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Manifesto of the Communist Party. Since first rattling the gates of the ruling order in 1848, this incendiary pamphlet has never ceased providing fuel for the fire in the hearts of those who dream of a better world. Nor has it stopped haunting the nightmares of those who sit atop the vastly unequal social system it condemns.

Miéville provides readers with a guide to understanding the Manifesto and the many specters it has conjured. Through his unique and unorthodox reading, Miéville offers a spirited defense of the enduring relevance of Marx and Engels’ ideas.

Presented along with the full text of the Communist Manifesto, Miéville's guide has something to offer first-time readers, revolutionary partisans, and even the most hard-nosed skeptics.

What People Are Saying

“In A Spectre, Haunting, China Miéville, mind, soul, and pen ablaze, guides his readers through Marx and Engels’s unignorable, inextinguishable, eternally uncomfortable, and always essential Manifesto. This is both a history of critical thought and a magnificent exemplar of reading and thinking critically. Miéville has written a thrillingly lively and lucid exegesis on the Manifesto, its contents, and its discontents. He’s gathered together an astonishingly heterogeneous array of voices and responses, making a case for the Manifesto as a locus of politically engaged analysis and argument for nearly two centuries. Miéville adjudicates and synthesizes with unfailing clarity, wit, courage, decency, and passion, writing brilliantly about nationalism, race, gender, literary style, and—my particular favorite section—about the perils and necessity of hate. He gives us a Manifesto that is simultaneously a central artifact of our species and a means for understanding our present, hazardous moment, a historical work that remains absolutely, ferociously alive.” —Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America

“It’s thrilling to accompany Miéville, one of the greatest living world-builders, as he wrestles—in critical good faith and incandescent commitment—with a manifesto that still calls on us to build a new world.” —Naomi Klein, author of On Fire and No Is Not Enough

“China Miéville's elegant book patiently explains composition—style, structure, class—to reveal the Communist Manifesto’s spectral energies. Reading with him today sharpens our senses to contemporary internationalist movements from below.” —Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Abolition Geography and Change Everything

“The Manifesto is one of history’s most profound prophecies. In Miéville's brilliant interpretation it is like a great comet whose periodic return blinds the sky with its light and urgency. Read this and be dazzled by its contemporaneity.” —Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Set the Night On Fire

“With diligence and a ruthlessly critical eye worthy of Marx himself, China Miéville expands upon the Communist Manifesto, calling us into renewed struggle for the best of what humanity could be. Against the million little cruelties and death-making of capitalism, this book builds a case for the value of the Manifesto to today's struggles without demanding fealty. It turns long-standing complaints about Marx on their heads to challenge the reader even while seducing with luminous prose. I didn't know I needed this book, but I did.” —Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won't Love You Back and Necessary Trouble

“China Miéville’s A Spectre, Haunting, is a small miracle of interpretation, criticism and sympathetic imagination. In its subtle reconstruction of the Communist Manifesto, it swiftly dispatches the bad faith critics of Marx & Engels and revises common errors, even while it carefully unpacks what the Manifesto did get wrong. Incisive and witty, the book strikes with equal measures of dexterity and yearning the prophetic, utopian – and yet deeply practical, materialist – notes of a monumental text.” —Richard Seymour, author of The Twittering Machine

“An excellent book, very lively and engaging, written in clear and readable prose… much more than a contextual and analytical reading of the Manifesto... For today’s readers Miéville does excellent work presenting and reviewing a huge amount of twentieth-century history.” —Terrell Carver, University of Bristol

“It would have been enough to have a thorough, learned, clear introduction to The Communist Manifesto from one of the greatest leftist authors of our time, but China Miéville's A Spectre, Haunting is also a serious and singular exploration of the vital principle of the Manifesto as a work of writing, a rhythmology of its bottomless fury and impassioned faith in a communist horizon.” —Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox

“A book about another book might sound boring, but The Communist Manifesto is more than a book: it represents a bulging galaxy of historical struggle, ever moving and shining, even if only on the periphery of our vision. Here, China Miéville opens up the pages of the Manifesto and transmits the energy of communism across the pallid present. Close reading, historical essay, political commentary and a manifesto of sorts: A Spectre, Haunting is a rich, luminous reflection of and on a light that never quite goes out.” —Andreas Malm, author of How to Blow Up A Pipeline

“Very enjoyable and well done... properly scholarly and thorough in its apparatus of discussion and issue identification...lively, politically-driven appreciation.” —Gregor McLennan, University of Bristol

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