Greil Marcus: Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (1989–) [EN, ES, TR]

12 November 2014, dusan

“Greil Marcus began work on this book out of a fascination with the Sex Pistols: that scandalous antimusical group, invented in London in 1975 and dead within two years, which sparked the emergence of the culture called punk. “I am an antichrist!” shouted singer Johnny Rotten—where in the world of pop music did that come from? Looking for an answer, with a high sense of the drama of the journey, Marcus takes us down the dark paths of counterhistory, a route of blasphemy, adventure, and surprise.

This is no mere search for cultural antecedents. Instead, what Marcus so brilliantly shows is that various kinds of angry, absolute demands—demands on society, art, and all the governing structures of everyday life—seem to be coded in phrases, images, and actions passed on invisibly, but inevitably, by people quite unaware of each other. Marcus lets us hear strange yet familiar voices: of such heretics as the Brethren of the Free Spirit in medieval Europe and the Ranters in seventeenth-century England; the dadaists in Zurich in 1916 and Berlin in 1918, wearing death masks, chanting glossolalia; one Michel Mourre, who in 1950 took over Easter Mass at Notre-Dame to proclaim the death of God; the Lettrist International and the Situationist International, small groups of Paris—based artists and writers surrounding Guy Debord, who produced blank-screen films, prophetic graffiti, and perhaps the most provocative social criticism of the 1950s and ’60s; the rioting students and workers of May ’68, scrawling cryptic slogans on city walls and bringing France to a halt; the Sex Pistols in London, recording the savage “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen.”

Although the Sex Pistols shape the beginning and the end of the story, Lipstick Traces is not a book about music; it is about a common voice, discovered and transmitted in many forms. Working from scores of previously unexamined and untranslated essays, manifestos, and filmscripts, from old photographs, dada sound poetry, punk songs, collages, and classic texts from Marx to Henri Lefebvre, Marcus takes us deep behind the acknowledged events of our era, into a hidden tradition of moments that would seem imaginary except for the fact that they are real: a tradition of shared utopias, solitary refusals, impossible demands, and unexplained disappearances. Written with grace and force, humor and an insistent sense of tragedy and danger, Lipstick Traces tells a story as disruptive and compelling as the century itself.”

Publisher The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MA, 1989
Twentieth Anniversary Edition, 2009
ISBN 0674034805, 9780674034808
496 pages
via missionsamurai

Greil Marcus discusses the book on the radio (30 min, KCRW, 1989)
Simon Reynolds interviews Greil Marcus (Los Angeles Review of Books, 2012)

Review (Simon Reynolds, Melody Maker, 1989)
Review (Jerome McGann, London Review of Books, 1989)
Review (Jon Erickson, Discourse, 1989-90)
Review (Steve Redhead, Popular Music, 1990)


Lipstick Traces (English, 1989/2009, EPUB, 5 MB), EPUB
Rastros de carmín. Una historia secreta del siglo XX (Spanish, trans. Damian Alou, 1993, 13 MB)
Ruj Lekesi: Yirminci Yüzyılın Gizli Tarihi (Turkish, trans. Ayrıntı Yayınları, 1999, 29 MB)

J. P. Nettl: Rosa Luxemburg, Vol. 1 (1966)

8 September 2014, dusan

The first of 2 volumes of the leading biography of the Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist. Covers the period until 1911.

Publisher Oxford University Press, 1966
450 pages
via Hyeonwoo Kim

Review (Hannah Arendt, The New York Review of Books, 1966)
Review (Robert H. McNeal, The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science, 1966)

PDF (17 MB, no OCR)
For a chronology of her life see the exhibition brochure produced by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (DE, EN, FR, TR, ES, VN).

Raymond Aron: The Opium of the Intellectuals (1955/1962)

13 October 2013, dusan

First published in 1955, this political reflection seeks to show how noble ideas can slide into the “tyranny of secular religion”. It stresses how political thought has the responsibility of telling the truth about social and political reality – in all its imperfections and complexities.

Aron explodes the three “myths” of radical thought: the Left, the Revolution, and the Proletariat. Each of these ideas, Aron shows, are ideological, mystifying rather than illuminating. He also provides a fascinating sociology of intellectual life and a powerful critique of historical determinism in the classically restrained prose for which he is justly famous.

First published in French L’Opium des intellectuels, Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1955
First published in 1955
Translated by Terence Kilmartin
Foreword translated by Lucile H. Brockway
Publisher W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1962
324 pages

Review (Rudolf Allers)

Wikipedia (in French)