Introduction by Fredric Jameson
“Today we are in a position to return to Althusser’s work in a new way, and make a new assessment of it,” writes Fredric Jameson in his Introduction to this new edition of Louis Althusser’s Lenin and Philosophy.
No figure loomed larger than Althusser in Marxist thought in the West during the 1960s and 70s—the decades in which the Soviet model was discredited in the West and new avenues opened up in Marxist philosophy and politics. Althusser stood out for his attempt to define a Marxist philosophy that was rigorous, scientific, and revolutionary. In the process he set new standards of argumentation for Marxist theory.
As Jameson shows in his introduction, the essays that had so massive and fertile an influence in those decades continue to speak to us today. From these essays there emerges a conception of Marxism as something more and other than a philosophy, whose “concepts are also forms of practice, so that one cannot simply debate them in a disinterested philosophical way without the uncomfortable intervention of practical positions and commitments.”
This classic work covers the broad range of Althusser’s interests and contributions in philosophy, economics, pyschology, aesthetics, and politics. It includes his major essay on “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” This path-breaking analysis of ideology has inspired a range of recent approaches to this field, which remains central to our own time.
Lenin and Philosophy also contains Althusser’s essay on Lenin’s study of Hegel; “Freud and Lacan” his “Letter on Art,” and “Cremonini, Painter of the Abstract”. The book opens with a 1968 interview in which he discusses his personal, political and intellectual history.
An extremely valuable collection of essays.