Five Lessons on Wagner

A leading radical intellectual tackles the many controversialinterpretations of Wagner’s work.
For over a century, Richard Wagner’s music has been the subject of intensedebate among philosophers, many of whom have attacked its ideological—some say racist and reactionary—underpinnings. In this major new work,Alain Badiou, radical philosopher and keen Wagner enthusiast, offers adetailed reading of the critical responses to the composer’s work, whichinclude Adorno’s writings on the composer and Wagner’s recuperationby Nazism as well as more recent readings by Philippe Lacoue-Labartheand others. Slavoj Zizek provides an afterword, and both philosophersmake a passionate case for re-examining the relevance of Wagner to thecontemporary world.


  • Alain Badiou: "Mao thinks in an almost infinite way"

    Badiou's apparently "unrepentant" Maoism has been one of the most controversial, if misinterpreted, elements of his thought. In the conversation below, Badiou is pressed on the question by an anonymous Chinese philosopher, and maintains that Mao continues to provide a model for dialectical thought, if not for a historical project. Visit LEAP to read the original piece in full.

    A full recording of the performance, held on December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York, can now be accessed here

    Stock-up, bulk-out, or fill-in the gaps in your Badiou Bookshelf with 50% off until tomorrow!

    ILLUSTRATION / Wang Buke

    A Dialogue Between a Chinese Philosopher and a French Philosopher

    December 13, 2014, Manny Cantor Center, New York

    Some time ago, French philosopher (and venerable Maoist) Alain Badiou traveled to China to speak to a Chinese philosopher. Though his or her name appears to have been lost in the ashes of time, the transcript of this alleged meeting remains, and bears a noted resemblance to a series of conversations Badiou had with Lu Xinghua, a contentious proponent of the theorization of Chinese contemporary art. A restaging of this dialogue this past December in New York, with an actress as the skeptical interlocutor, provided a window into Continental philosophy’s most ardent Orientalist fantasies—and an hour or two of solid dialectical entertainment.

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  • Alain Badiou: "Happiness is a risk that we must be ready to take"

    Happiness is central to the police operation of contemporary capitalism: enforced at work by "chief happiness officers" and at home by mindfulness, self-help manuals and "neurosignalling" headbands. Happiness must be meticulously maintained, and a burgeoning industry has grown around it, because collective unhappiness runs the risk of financial collapse. But as Alain Badiou argues below, it is happiness—as the affect on which political action is founded—that is the true risk. 

    - Visit 
    Regards to read the original interview in French. Translated by David Broder. 

    Verso is offering 50% off all our books by Alain Badiou until Friday!

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  • Complete your Badiou Bookshelf! 50% off until Friday!

    Stock-up, bulk-out, or fill-in the gaps in your Badiou Bookshelf with 50% off until Friday 12th June!

    For a limited time only (until Friday 12th June) we have 50% off EVERY BOOK by our favorite communist French philosopher!

    No Badiou Bookshelf is complete without Philosophy for MilitantsEthics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, and everyone's favourite little red number, The Communist Hypothesis (now out in paperback!).

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Other books by Alain Badiou Translated by Susan Spitzer Afterword by Slavoj Žižek