Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: October 20, 2020
Writing PoliticsAn Anthology
edited and with an introduction by David Bromwich
An NYRB Classics Original
David Bromwich is one of the most well-informed, cogent, and morally uncompromising political writers on the left today. He is also one of our finest intellectual historians and literary critics. In Writing Politics, Bromwich presents twenty-seven essays by different writers from the beginning of the modern political world in the seventeenth century until recent times, essays that grapple with issues that continue to shape history—revolution and war, racism, women’s rights, the status of the worker, the nature of citizenship, imperialism, violence and nonviolence, among them—and essays that have also been chosen as superlative examples of the power of written English to reshape our thoughts and the world. Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, George Eliot, W. E. B. Du Bois, Mohandas Gandhi, Virginia Woolf, Martin Luther King, and Hannah Arendt are here, among others, along with a wide-ranging introduction.
Penetrating essays across three centuries consider freedom, power, and justice. . . . Overall, the sophistication of language and argument throughout this anthology testifies to what public discourse used to sound like before it became dominated by Twitter rants. Well-chosen, enduringly relevant selections.
David Bromwich has chosen essays in which famed dissenters, critics, and reformers courageously address their fellow citizens, reframing a shared world and its political demands. They offer an unparalleled education in how to think and act politically.
David Bromwich—one of the few great public intellectuals in our time—has given us a feast of wise and courageous essays by exemplary writers of the highest order! His elegant and eloquent introduction sets the stage for a caravan of profound reflections so timely for our historical moment of escalating moral decay, political corruption and massive arbitrary power.
Bromwich has for the past four decades been calling our attention both to the ways words shape the concrete features of our society, hardening sentiments into the institutions and norms that govern our lives, and to the role that each of us plays in that process, taking those institutions and norms and, in the act of speaking as such, translating them back into sentiments that we, through the affect-rich act of inflection, can defend, attack, and reform.
—Sam Sackeroff, LA Review of Books