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A Spectre, Haunting

On the Communist Manifesto

China Mieville



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Head of Zeus
01 May 2022
China Mieville's brilliant reading of the modern world's most controversial and enduring political document: the Communist Manifesto.

In 1848 a strange political tract was published by two emigres from Germany. Marx and Engels's apocalyptic vision of an insatiable system that penetrates every corner of the world, reduces every relationship to that of profit, and bursts asunder the old forms of production and of politics, is still a picture of a recognisable world, our world, and the vampiric energy of the system is once again highly contentious.

The Manifesto is a text that shows no sign of fading into antiquarian obscurity. Its ideas animate in different ways the work of writers like Yanis Varoufakis, Adam Tooze, Naomi Klein and the journalist Owen Jones.

China Mieville is not a writer who has been hemmed in by conventional notions of expertise or genre, and this is a strikingly imaginative take on Marx and what his most haunting book has to say to us today.

This is a book haunted by ghosts, sorcery and creative destruction.
 A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto

Imprint:   Head of Zeus
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   ANZ Only
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
ISBN:   9781803282244
ISBN 10:   180328224X
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

China Mieville has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times), the British Fantasy Award (twice), and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (four times). His novels include Perdido Street Station, King Rat, Un Lun Dun, The City & The City, Railsea and The Last Days of New Paris. He has also written a narrative history of the Bolshevik Revolution, October.

Reviews for A Spectre, Haunting: On the Communist Manifesto

'The Manifesto is one of history's most profound prophecies. In Mieville'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 'China Mieville'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 '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 Mieville does excellent work presenting and reviewing a huge amount of twentieth-century history' -- Professor Terrell Carver 'It's thrilling to accompany Mieville, 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 'Very enjoyable and well done... Properly scholarly and thorough in its apparatus of discussion and issue-identification... Lively, politically driven appreciation' -- Professor Gregor McLennan 'With diligence and a ruthlessly critical eye worthy of Marx himself, China Mieville 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 '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 Mieville 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 'China Mieville, 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. Mieville has written a thrillingly lively and lucid exegesis on the Manifesto, its contents and its discontents. He's gathered together an astonishingly heterogenous array of voices and responses, making a case for the Manifesto as a locus of politically engaged analysis and argument for nearly two centuries. Mieville 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

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