Books by Zizek

The list of the books are in reverse chronological order (latest books first):


The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a Year of Acting Dangerously
Allen Lane (May 4, 2017)
In these troubled times, even the most pessimistic diagnosis of our future ends with an uplifting hint that things might not be as bad as all that, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Yet, argues Slavoj Žižek, it is only when we have admitted to ourselves that our situation is completely hopeless - that the light at the end of the tunnel is in fact the headlight of a train approaching us from the opposite direction - that fundamental change can be brought about.
Surveying the various challenges in the world today, from mass migration and geopolitical tensions to terrorism, the explosion of rightist populism and the emergence of new radical politics - all of which, in their own way, express the impasses of global capitalism - Žižek explores whether there still remains the possibility for genuine change. Today, he proposes, the only true question is, or should be, this: do we endorse the predominant acceptance of capitalism as a fact of human nature, or does today's capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms to prevent its infinite reproduction? Can we, he asks, move beyond the failure of socialism, and beyond the current wave of populist rage, and initiate radical change before the train hits?

Verso (September 19, 2017)
Lenin’s originality and importance as a revolutionary leader is most often associated with the seizure of power in 1917. But, Žižek argues in this new study and collection of original texts, Lenin’s true greatness can be better grasped in the very last couple of years of his political life. Russia had survived foreign invasion, embargo and a terrifying civil war, as well as internal revolts such as at Kronstadt in 1921. But the new state was exhausted, isolated and disorientated in the face of the world revolution that seemed to be receding. New paths had to be sought, almost from scratch, for the Soviet state to survive and imagine some alternative route to the future. With his characteristic brio and provocative insight, Žižek suggests that Lenin’s courage as a thinker can be found in his willingness to face this reality of retreat lucidly and frontally

The MIT Press (September 29, 2017)

If the most interesting theoretical interventions emerge today from the interspaces between fields, then the foremost interspaceman is Slavoj Žižek. In Incontinence of the Void (the title is inspired by a sentence in Samuel Beckett's late masterpiece Ill Seen Ill Said), Žižek explores the empty spaces between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and the critique of political economy. He proceeds from the universal dimension of philosophy to the particular dimension of sexuality to the singular dimension of the critique of political economy. The passage from one dimension to another is immanent: the ontological void is accessible only through the impasses of sexuation and the ongoing prospect of the abolition of sexuality, which is itself opened up by the technoscientific progress of global capitalism, in turn leading to the critique of political economy.
Responding to his colleague and fellow Short Circuits author Alenka Zupančič's What Is Sex?, Žižek examines the notion of an excessive element in ontology that gives body to radical negativity, which becomes the antagonism of sexual difference. From the economico-philosophical perspective, Žižek extrapolates from ontological excess to Marxian surplus value to Lacan's surplus enjoyment. In true Žižekian fashion, Incontinence of the Void focuses on eternal topics while detouring freely into contemporary issuesfrom the Internet of Things to Danish TV series.


London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
Antigone is universally celebrated as the ultimate figure of ethical resistance to the state power which oversteps its legitimate scope and as the defender of simple human dignity (more important than all political struggles). But is she really so innocent and pure? What if there is a dark side to her? What if Creon, the representative of state power, also has a valuable point to make? And what if both Antigone and Creon are part of a problem that only a popular intervention can confront?
Â?iÂ?ek's rewriting of this classic play confronts these issues in a practical way: not by theorizing about them, but by imagining an Antigone in which, at a crucial moment, the action takes a different turn, an Antigone along the lines of Run, Lola, Run or of Brecht's learning plays. 
A brilliantly funny, moving and political piece for those who are interested in reading and watching Antigone in an entirely new way.

London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
Disparities explores contemporary 'negative' philosophies from Catherine Malabou's plasticity, Julia Kristeva's abjection and Robert Pippin's self-consciousness to the God of negative theology, new realisms and post-humanism and draws a radical line under them. Instead of establishing a dialogue with these other ideas of disparity, Slavoj Â?iÂ?ek wants to establish a definite departure, a totally different idea of disparity based on an imaginative dialectical materialism. This notion of rupturing what has gone before is based on a provocative reading of how philosophers can, if they're honest, engage with each other. Slavoj Â?iÂ?ek borrows Alain Badiou's notion that a true idea is the one that divides. Radically departing from previous formulations of negativity and disparity, Â?iÂ?ek employs a new kind of negativity: namely positing that when a philosopher deals with another philosopher, his or her stance is never one of dialogue, but one of division, of drawing a line that separates truth from falsity.

Allen Lane, 2016
Today, hundreds of thousands of people, desperate to escape war, violence and poverty, are crossing the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe. Our response from our protected European standpoint, argues Slavoj Zizek, offers two versions of ideological blackmail: either we open our doors as widely as possible; or we try to pull up the drawbridge. Both solutions are bad, states Zizek. They merely prolong the problem, rather than tackling it.
The refugee crisis also presents an opportunity, a unique chance for Europe to redefine itself: but, if we are to do so, we have to start raising unpleasant and difficult questions. We must also acknowledge that large migrations are our future: only then can we commit to a carefully prepared process of change, one founded not on a community that see the excluded as a threat, but one that takes as its basis the shared substance of our social being.
The only way, in other words, to get to the heart of one of the greatest issues confronting Europe today is to insist on the global solidarity of the exploited and oppressed. Maybe such solidarity is a utopia. But, warns Zizek, if we don't engage in it, then we are really lost. And we will deserve to be lost.

Berlin: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig, 2016


Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Capitalism
Brooklyn: Melville House, 2015

In Trouble in Paradise, Slavoj Žižek, one of our most famous, most combative philosophers, explains how by drawing on the ideas of communism, we can find a way out of the crisis of capitalism.
There is obviously trouble in the global capitalist paradise. But why do we find it so difficult to imagine a way out of the crisis we're in? It is as if the trouble feeds on itself: the march of capitalism has become inexorable, the only game in town.
Setting out to diagnose the condition of global capitalism, the ideological constraints we are faced with in our daily lives, and the bleak future promised by this system, Slavoj Žižek explores the possibilities - and the traps - of new emancipatory struggles.

Drawing insights from phenomena as diverse as Gangnam Style to Marx, The Dark Knight to Thatcher, Trouble in Paradise is an incisive dissection of the world we inhabit, and the new order to come.

Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism
London: Verso, 7 October 2014
Philosophical materialism in all its forms – from scientific naturalism to Deleuzian New Materialism – has failed to meet the key theoretical and political challenges of the modern world. This is the burden of philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s argument in this pathbreaking and eclectic new work. Recent history has seen developments such as quantum physics and Freudian psychoanalysis, not to speak of the failure of twentieth-century communism, shake our understanding of existence.

In the process, the dominant tradition in Western philosophy lost its moorings. To bring materialism up to date, Žižek – himself a committed materialist and communist – proposes a radical revision of our intellectual heritage. He argues that dialectical materialism is the only true philosophical inheritor of what Hegel designated the “speculative” approach in thought.

Absolute Recoil is a startling reformulation of the basis and possibilities of contemporary philosophy. While focusing on how to overcome the transcendental approach without regressing to naïve, pre-Kantian realism, Žižek offers a series of excursions into today’s political, artistic, and ideological landscape, from Arnold Schoenberg’s music to the films of Ernst Lubitsch.

Event: A Philosophical Journey Through a Concept 
New York: Penguin, 2014
An event can be an occurrence that shatters ordinary life, a radical political rupture, a transformation of reality, a religious belief, the rise of a new art form, or an intense experience such as falling in love.

Taking us on a trip that stops at different definitions of event, Žižek addresses fundamental questions such as: are all things connected? How much are we agents of our own fates? Which conditions must be met for us to perceive something as really existing? In a world that’s constantly changing, is anything new really happening? Drawing on references from Plato to arthouse cinema, the Big Bang to Buddhism, Event is a journey into philosophy at its most exciting and elementary.

The Most Sublime Hysteric: Hegel with Lacan 
Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2014
What do we know about Hegel? What do we know about Marx? What do we know about democracy and totalitarianism? Communism and psychoanalysis? What do we know that isn't a platitude that we've heard a thousand times - or a self-satisfied certainty? Through his brilliant reading of Hegel, Slavoj Zizek - one of the most provocative and widely-read thinkers of our time - upends our traditional understanding, dynamites every cliché and undermines every conviction in order to clear the ground for new ways of answering these questions. 

When Lacan described Hegel as the ‘most sublime hysteric’, he was referring to the way that the hysteric asks questions because he experiences his own desire as if it were the Other's desire. In the dialectical process, the question asked of the Other is resolved through a reflexive turn in which the question begins to function as its own answer. We had made Hegel into the theorist of abstraction and reaction, but by reading Hegel with Lacan, Zizek unveils a Hegel of the concrete and of revolution - his own, and the one to come.

This early and dazzlingly original work by Zizek offers a unique insight into the ideas which have since become hallmarks of his mature thought. It will be of great interest to anyone interested in critical theory, philosophy and contemporary social thought.

Žižek's Jokes: (Did you hear the one about Hegel and negation?)
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014
"A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes." -- Ludwig WittgensteinThe good news is that this book offers an entertaining but enlightening compilation of Žižekisms. Unlike any other book by Slavoj Žižek, this compact arrangement of jokes culled from his writings provides an index to certain philosophical, political, and sexual themes that preoccupy him. Žižek's Jokes contains the set-ups and punch lines -- as well as the offenses and insults -- that Žižek is famous for, all in less than 200 pages. So what's the bad news? There is no bad news. There's just the inimitable Slavoj Žižek, disguised as an impossibly erudite, politically incorrect uncle, beginning a sentence, "There is an old Jewish joke, loved by Derrida..." For Žižek, jokes are amusing stories that offer a shortcut to philosophical insight. He illustrates the logic of the Hegelian triad, for example, with three variations of the "Not tonight, dear, I have a headache" classic: first the wife claims a migraine; then the husband does; then the wife exclaims, "Darling, I have a terrible migraine, so let's have some sex to refresh me!" A punch line about a beer bottle provides a Lacanian lesson about one signifier. And a "truly obscene" version of the famous "aristocrats" joke has the family offering a short course in Hegelian thought rather than a display of unspeakables. Žižek's Jokes contains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Žižek's work in English (including some in unpublished manuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts. The larger point being that comedy is central to Žižek's seriousness.


Demanding the Impossible 
Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2013
Where are we today and what is to be done? Slavoj ?i?ek ponders these questions in this unique and timely book.  Based on live interviews, the book captures ?i?ek at his irrepressible best, elucidating such topics as the uprisings of the Arab Spring, the global financial crisis, populism in Latin America, the rise of China and even the riddle of North Korea.  ?i?ek dazzles readers with his analyses of Hollywood films, Venezuelan police reports, Swedish crime fiction and much else. Wherever the conversation turns, his energetic mind illuminates unexpected horizons.
While analyzing our present predicaments, ?i?ek also explores possibilities for change. What sort of society is worth striving for? Why is it difficult to imagine alternative social and political arrangements? What are the bases for hope? A key obligation in our troubled times, argues ?i?ek, is to dare to ask fundamental questions: we must reflect and theorize anew, and always be prepared to rethink and redefine the limits of the possible.
These original and compelling conversations offer an engaging and accessible introduction to one of the most important thinkers of our time.


London: Verso, 2012
Call it the year of dreaming dangerously: 2011 caught the world off guard with a series of shattering events. While protesters in New York, Cairo, London, and Athens took to the streets in pursuit of emancipation, obscure destructive fantasies inspired the world’s racist populists in places as far apart as Hungary and Arizona, achieving a horrific consummation in the actions of mass murderer Anders Breivik.

The subterranean work of dissatisfaction continues. Rage is building, and a new wave of revolts and disturbances will follow. Why? Because the events of 2011 augur a new political reality. These are limited, distorted—sometimes even perverted—fragments of a utopian future lying dormant in the present.

Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism 
London: Verso, 2012
Slavoj Žižek’s masterwork on the Hegelian legacy.For the last two centuries, Western philosophy has developed in the shadow of Hegel, whose influence each new thinker tries in vain to escape: whether in the name of the pre-rational Will, the social process of production, or the contingency of individual existence. Hegel’s absolute idealism has become the bogeyman of philosophy, obscuring the fact that he is the dominant philosopher of the epochal historical transition to modernity; a period with which our own time shares startling similarities.
Today, as global capitalism comes apart at the seams, we are entering a new transition. In Less Than Nothing, the pinnacle publication of a distinguished career, Slavoj Žižek argues that it is imperative that we not simply return to Hegel but that we repeat and exceed his triumphs,overcoming his limitations by being even more Hegelian than the master himself. Such an approach not only enables Žižek to diagnose our present condition, but also to engage in a critical dialogue with the key strands of contemporary thought—Heidegger, Badiou, speculative realism, quantum physics and cognitive sciences. Modernity will begin and end with Hegel.


London: Verso, 2010
There should no longer be any doubt: global capitalism is fast approaching its terminal crisis. Slavoj Žižek has identified the four horsemen of this coming apocalypse: the worldwide ecological crisis; imbalances within the economic system; the biogenetic revolution; and exploding social divisions and ruptures. But, he asks, if the end of capitalism seems to many like the end of the world, how is it possible for Western society to face up to the end times?

In a major new analysis of our global situation, Žižek argues that our collective responses to economic Armageddon correspond to the stages of grief: ideological denial, explosions of anger and attempts at bargaining, followed by depression and withdrawal.

For this edition, Žižek has written a long afterword that leaves almost no subject untouched, from WikiLeaks to the nature of the Chinese Communist Party.


London: Verso,2009
Billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?

In this take-no-prisoners analysis, Slavoj Žižek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. What he finds is the old one-two punch of history: the jab of tragedy, the right hook of farce. In the attacks of 9/11 and the global credit crunch, liberalism dies twice: as a political doctrine and as an economic theory.

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce is a call for the Left to reinvent itself in the light of our desperate historical situation. The time for liberal, moralistic blackmail is over.


New York: Picador, 2008
Zizek argues that the physical violence we see is often generated by the systemic violence that sustains our political and economic systems. With the help of eminent philosophers like Marx, Engel and Lacan, as well as frequent references to popular culture, he examines the real causes of violent outbreaks like those seen in Israel and Palestine and in terrorist acts around the world. Ultimately, he warns, doing nothing is often the most violent course of action we can take.

London: Verso, 2008
Examining Heidegger's seduction by fascism and Foucault's flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the 'right steps in the wrong direction.' On the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the bolsheviks, Zizek argues that while these struggles ended in historic failure and horror, there was a valuable core of idealism lost beneath the bloodshed.
A redemptive vision has been obscured by the soft, decentralized politics of the liberal-democratic consensus. Faced with the coming ecological crisis, Zizekk argues the case for revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat. A return to past ideals is needed despite the risks. In the words of Samuel Beckett: 'Try again. Fail again. Fail better.'


London: Granta Books, 2006
Is psychoanalysis dead or are we to read frequent attacks on its theoretical 'mistakes' and clinical 'frauds' as a proof of its vitality? Slavoj Zizek's passionate defence of Lacan reasserts the ethical urgency of psychoanalysis. Traditionally, psychoanalysis was expected to allow the patient to overcome the obstacles which prevented access to 'normal' sexual enjoyment. Today, however, we are bombarded from all sides by different versions of the injunction 'Enjoy!' Lacan reminds us that psychoanalysis is the only discourse in which you are allowed not to enjoy. Since for Lacan psychoanalysis itself is a procedure of reading, each chapter uses a passage from Lacan as a tool to interpret another text from philosophy, art or popular ideology, applying his ideas to Hegel and Hitchcock, Shakespeare and Dostoevsky.

Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2006
The Parallax View is Slavoj Žižek's most substantial theoretical work to appear in many years; Žižek himself describes it as his magnum opus. Parallax can be defined as the apparent displacement of an object, caused by a change in observational position. Žižek is interested in the "parallax gap" separating two points between which no synthesis or mediation is possible, linked by an "impossible short circuit" of levels that can never meet. From this consideration of parallax, Žižek begins a rehabilitation of dialectical materialism.Modes of parallax can be seen in different domains of today's theory, from the wave-particle duality in quantum physics to the parallax of the unconscious in Freudian psychoanalysis between interpretations of the formation of the unconscious and theories of drives. In The Parallax View, Žižek, with his usual astonishing erudition, focuses on three main modes of parallax: the ontological difference, the ultimate parallax that conditions our very access to reality; the scientific parallax, the irreducible gap between the phenomenal experience of reality and its scientific explanation, which reaches its apogee in today's brain sciences (according to which "nobody is home" in the skull, just stacks of brain meat -- a condition Žižek calls "the unbearable lightness of being no one"); and the political parallax, the social antagonism that allows for no common ground. Between his discussions of these three modes, Žižek offers interludes that deal with more specific topics -- including an ethical act in a novel by Henry James and anti-anti-Semitism.The Parallax View not only expands Žižek's Lacanian-Hegelian approach to new domains (notably cognitive brain sciences) but also provides the systematic exposition of the conceptual framework that underlies his entire work. Philosophical and theological analysis, detailed readings of literature, cinema, and music coexist with lively anecdotes and obscene jokes.

London, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006
Slavoj Žižek is one of the world's foremost cultural commentators: a prolific writer and thinker, whose adventurous, unorthodox and wide-ranging writings have won him a unique place as one of the most high profile thinkers of our time. The Universal Exception brings together some of Žižek's most vivid writings on politics. Bringing together high theory, popular culture and passionate engagement with politics, Žižek here brings us startlingly new perspectives on such topics as multiculturalism, capitalism and Bill Gates, the revolutionary potential of Stalinism, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
Including a glossary of key terms, the Bloomsbury Revelations edition also includes a new preface by the author.


Interrogating the Real
London, New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2005
Interrogating the Real is the first volume of the collected writings of Slavoj Žižek - undoubtedly one of the world's leading contemporary cultural commentators, and one of the most inspiring, provocative and entertaining cultural critics at work today. Drawing upon the full range of his prolific output, the articles here cover psychoanalysis, philosophy and popular culture, reflecting the remarkable breadth and depth of Žižek's interest in politics, culture and philosophy, and also showcasing his entertaining style. A full and clear sense of Žižekian philosophy emerges, derived from Hegelian dialectics, Marxist politics and Lacanian psychoanalysis. At the same time, Žižek's witty and accessible approach to his subject and his choice of exemplars from pop culture ensure that this is a consistently fresh and surprising body of work.
The book includes a new preface by Žižek himself, as well as an introduction by the editors and a helpful glossary for those coming to Žižek's work for the first time.


London: Verso, 2003
In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you.

That same inconsistency, Žižek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq: A link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda was transformed into the threat posed by the regime to the region, which was then further transformed into the threat posed to everyone (but the US and Britain especially) by weapons of mass destruction. When no significant weapons were found, we were treated to the same bizarre logic: OK, the two labs we found don’t really prove anything, but even if there are no WMD in Iraq, there are other good reasons to topple a tyrant like Saddam ...

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle – which can be considered as a sequel to Žižek’s acclaimed post-9/11 Welcome to the Desert of the Real – analyzes the background that such inconsistent argumentation conceals and, simultaneously, cannot help but highlight: what were the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq? In classic Žižekian style, it spares nothing and nobody, neither pathetically impotent pacifism nor hypocritical sympathy with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2003
Slavoj Žižek has been called "an academic rock star" and "the wild man of theory"; his writing mixes astonishing erudition and references to pop culture in order to dissect current intellectual pieties. In The Puppet and the Dwarf he offers a close reading of today's religious constellation from the viewpoint of Lacanian psychoanalysis. He critically confronts both predominant versions of today's spirituality -- New Age gnosticism and deconstructionist-Levinasian Judaism -- and then tries to redeem the "materialist" kernel of Christianity. His reading of Christianity is explicitly political, discerning in the Pauline community of believers the first version of a revolutionary collective. Since today even advocates of Enlightenment like Jurgen Habermas acknowledge that a religious vision is needed to ground our ethical and political stance in a "postsecular" age, this book -- with a stance that is clearly materialist and at the same time indebted to the core of the Christian legacy -- is certain to stir controversy.

London: Routledge, 2003
In this deliciously polemical work, a giant of cultural theory immerses himself in the ideas of a giant of French thought. In his inimical style, Zizek links Deleuze's work with both Oedipus and Hegel, figures from whom the French philosopher distanced himself. Zizek turns some Deleuzian concepts around in order to explore the 'organs without bodies' in such films as Fight Club and the works of Hitchcock. Finally, he attacks what he sees as the 'radical chic' Deleuzians, arguing that such projects turn Deleuze into an ideologist of today's 'digital capitalism'. With his brilliant energy and fearless argumentation, Zizek sets out to restore a truer, more radical Deleuze than the one we thought we knew.


London: Verso, 2002
The idea of a Lenin renaissance might well provoke an outburst of sarcastic laughter. Marx is OK, but Lenin? Doesn’t he stand for the big catastrophe which left its mark on the entire twentieth-century?

Lenin, however, deserves wider consideration than this, and his writings of 1917 are testament to a formidable political figure. They reveal his ability to grasp the significance of an extraordinary moment in history. Everything is here, from Lenin-the-ingenious-revolutionary-strategist to Lenin-of-the-enacted-utopia. To use Kierkegaard’s phrase, what we can glimpse in these writings is Lenin-in-becoming: not yet Lenin-the-Soviet-institution, but Lenin thrown into an open, contingent situation.

In Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj Žižek locates the 1917 writings in their historical context, while his afterword tackles the key question of whether Lenin can be reinvented in our era of “cultural capitalism.” Žižek is convinced that, whatever the discussion—the forthcoming crisis of capitalism, the possibility of a redemptive violence, the falsity of liberal tolerance—Lenin’s time has come again.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates
London: Verso, 2002
Liberals and conservatives proclaim the end of the American holiday from history. Now the easy games are over; one should take sides. Žižek argues this is precisely the temptation to be resisted. In such moments of apparently clear choices, the real alternatives are most hidden. Welcome to the Desert of the Real steps back, complicating the choices imposed on us. It proposes that global capitalism is fundamentalist and that America was complicit in the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. It points to our dreaming about the catastrophe in numerous disaster movies before it happened, and explores the irony that the tragedy has been used to legitimize torture. Last but not least it analyzes the fiasco of the predominant leftist response to the events.


Repeating Lenin
Zagreb: Arkzin D.O.O., 2001

Opera's Second Death
London: Routledge, 2001
Opera's Second Death is a passionate exploration of opera - the genre, its masterpieces, and the nature of death. Using a dazzling array of tools, Slavoj Zizek and coauthor Mladen Dolar explore the strange compulsions that overpower characters in Mozart and Wagner, as well as our own desires to die and to go to the opera.

On Belief 
New York: Routledge, 2001.

Zizek returns to the territory of The Fragile Absolute in what he describes as a "self-critical" mood. Although advertized as an analysis of belief, the main concept concept in the book is the call for a politics of the ethical act, one which rejects the comforts of pragmatism and repeats the hard-line and unrepentant ethic of Saint Paul and Lenin. As such this represents one of Zizek's entreaties for us to leap into the "night of the world". This accessible book can be profitably read with little prior knowledge of Zizek's work.

The Fright of Real Tears: Krzysztof Kieslowski between Theory and Post-theory
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

This book is an intervention in the on-going debate in the field of film studies which is split between Theory (anything loosely affiliated with structuralism and post-structuralism) and Post-theory (anything loosely affiliated with a dislike of structuralism and post-structuralism). The main cause for antipathy for the Post-theorists is the dominance of crtain Lacanian concepts in the field of film studies. Zizek's argument here, through the reading of Kieslowski's flims, is that these Lacanian concepts were employed piecemeal without either due regard for their philosophical matrix or for thier implications. Zizek methodologically debunks the lamentable conclusions of Post-theory as he explains the workings and value of Lacan's insights.

Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Essays in the (Mis)Use of a Notion 
New York: Verso, 2001.

This combative book argues that totalitarianism is an ideological notion which has been used by the liberal democratic consensus to impugn the political left's critique of that consensus with the atrocities of the political right, thereby disabling effective political thought. Zizek examines five aspects of totalitarianism and concludes that the problem with the notion is the very thing that makes such a designation possible in the first place - the liberal democratic consensus (among whose members he includes just about everybody, damning tham as a bunch of "conformist scoundrles"). This work is more explicitlly political in its content, ending as it does with the refrain for increased socialization "in some form or another."


Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left
London; New York: Verso, 2000

What is the contemporary legacy of Gramsci’s notion of Hegemony? How can universality be reformulated now that its spurious versions have been so thoroughly criticized? In this ground-breaking project, Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau and Slavoj Žižek engage in a dialogue on central questions of contemporary philosophy and politics. Their essays, organized as separate contributions that respond to one another, range over the Hegelian legacy in contemporary critical theory, the theoretical dilemmas of multiculturalism, the universalism-versus-particularism debate, the strategies of the Left in a globalized economy, and the relative merits of post-structuralism and Lacanian psychoanalysis for a critical social theory. While the rigor and intelligence with which these writers approach their work is formidable, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality benefits additionally from their clear sense of energy and enjoyment in a revealing and often unpredictable exchange.

The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime 
Seattle: Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, 2000.

Using material from The Fragile Absolute, while building on previous analyses from The Metastases of Enjoyment, this book-essay is an examination of David Lynch's Lost Highway. The main contention is that the fims functions as a form of meta-commentary on the opposition between the clasic and postmodern femme fatale.

The Fragile Absolute, or Why the Christian Legacy is Worth Fighting For 
New York: Verso, 2000.

As Zizek himself confesses, it might seem strange for a Marxist to defend the legacy of Christianity in an age which has seen the re-emergence of obscurantist religious thought. However, part of the broad remit of this compact book is an attempt to resuscitate the subversive core of Christianity, the "act of shooting at oneself" (or of radical negativity) which forms the centrepiece of Zizek's analysis of Schelling in The Abyss of Freedom and of Descartes in Cogito and the Unconscious. Proposing that the only way to liberate oneself from the grip of existing social reality is to renounce the fantasmatic supplement that attaches us to it, he cites any number of examples from Sethe's act of infanticide in Toni Morrison Beloved, through Keyser Soeze's massacre of his own family in the Usual Suspects, up to the supreme instance of such a gesture in the Crucifixion. This is an accessible work which underscores the utopian aspect of his discussion of the "night of the world" in previous books.


The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology 
New York: Verso, 1999.

Judging by the number of articles it has spawned, this book is one of the most comprehensive monographs Zizek wrote. Its central thesis is that the "nursery tale"of the cogito which has dominated modern thought (in its guise as the self-transparent thinking subject) is, in fact, a misnomer that fails to acknowledge the cogito's constitutive moment of madness. Structured in three parts, the book takes to task critics of Cartesian subjectivity in the fields of German idealism, French political philosophy and Anglo-American cultural studies, directing blame for contemporary scientific and technological catastrophes away from the cogito and laying it squarely at the door of capitalism. While the overall philosophical argument is enjoyable in itself, Zizek also delivers a series of fascinating local insights which range across all aspects of political, cultural and social life. If parts of the book are very demanding, it does reward the reader's patience.

NATO as the Left Hand of God 
Zagreb: Arkzin, 1999.

As with The Spectre Still Roaming Around, this book/essay focuses on Zizek's critique of the NATO bombing of former Yugoslavia. According to him, this action dramatized a false alternative between the New World Order and the neo-racist nationalists opposing it. For Zizek, on the other hand, these are the two sides of the same coin - the New World Order, in which NATO is the military arm of multinational capitalism, itself breeds the monstrosities, such as Slobodan Milosevic, that it fights.

Cogito and The Unconscious
Durham: Duke University Press. 
The Cartesian cogito—the principle articulated by Descartes that "I think, therefore I am"—is often hailed as the precursor of modern science. At the same time, the cogito's agent, the ego, is sometimes feared as the agency of manipulative domination responsible for all present woes, from patriarchal oppression to ecological catastrophes. Without psychoanalyzing philosophy, Cogito and the Unconscious explores the vicissitudes of the cogito and shows that psychoanalyses can render visible a constitutive madness within modern philosophy, the point at which "I think, therefore I am" becomes obsessional neurosis characterized by "If I stop thinking, I will cease to exist."

Noting that for Lacan the Cartesian construct is the same as the Freudian "subject of the unconscious," the contributors follow Lacan's plea for a psychoanalytic return to the cogito. Along the path of this return, they examine the ethical attitude that befits modern subjectivity, the inherent sexualization of modern subjectivity, the impasse in which the Cartesian project becomes involved given the enigmatic status of the human body, and the Cartesian subject's confrontation with its modern critics, including Althusser, Bataille, and Dennett. In a style that has become familiar to Žižek's readers, these essays bring together a strict conceptual analysis and an approach to a wide range of cultural and ideological phenomena—from the sadist paradoxes of Kant's moral philosophy to the universe of Ayn Rand's novels, from the question "Which, if any, is the sex of the cogito?" to the defense of the cogito against the onslaught of cognitive sciences.

Challenging us to reconsider fundamental notions of human consciousness and modern subjectivity, this is a book whose very Lacanian orthodoxy makes it irreverently transgressive of predominant theoretical paradigms. Cogito and the Unconscious will appeal to readers interested in philosophy, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and theories of ideology.
Contributors. Miran Bozovic, Mladen Dolar, Alain Grosrichard, Marc de Kessel, Robert Pfaller, Renata Salecl, Slavoj Žižek, Alenka Zupancic.


The Spectre is Still Roaming Around 
Zagreb: Arkzin, 1998.

This book/essay was written as the introduction to a 150th commemorative edition of Marx's The Communist Manifesto. Much of the material is a recapitulation of the ideas in the last chapter of The Ticklish Subject; however Zizek structures it around a consideration of the value of Marx's work today. He argues that, despite its revolutionary shortcomings, the Manifesto's analyzes of the destructive effects of capital are more aplicable to the world of late capitalism - a world in which the brutal imposition of a unified global market threatens all local ethnic traditions, including the very form of the nation-state - than they ever were when it was originally written.


Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997

In the last decade, F. W. J. von Schelling has emerged as one of the key philosophers of German Idealism, the one who, for the first time, undermined Kant's philosophical revolution and in so doing opened up the way for a viable critique of Hegel. In noted philosopher Slavoj Zizek's view, the main orientations of the post-Hegelian thought, from Kierkegaard and Marx, to Heidegger and today's deconstructionism, were prefigured in Schelling's analysis of Hegel's idealism, and in his affirmation that the contingency of existence cannot be reduced to notional self-mediation. In The Abyss of Freedom, Zizek attempts to advance Schelling's stature even further, with a commentary of the second draft of Schelling's work The Ages of the World, written in 1813.
Zizek argues that Schelling's most profound thoughts are found in the series of three consecutive attempts he made to formulate the "ages of the world/Weltalter," the stages of the self-development of the Absolute. Of the three versions, claims Zizek, it is the second that is the most eloquent and definitive encompassing of Schelling's lyrical thought. It centers on the problem of how the Absolute (God) himself, in order to become actual, to exist effectively, has to accomplish a radically contingent move of acquiring material, bodily existence. Never before available in English, this version finally renders accessible one of the key texts of modern philosophy, a text that is widely debated in philosophical circles today.
The Abyss of Freedom is Zizek's own reading of Schelling based upon Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. It focuses on the notion that Lacan's theory--which claims that the symbolic universe emerged from presymbolic drives--is prefigured in Schelling's idea of logos as given birth to from the vortex of primordial drives, or from what "in God is not yet God." For Zizek, this connection is monumental, showing that Schelling's ideas forcefully presage the post-modern "deconstruction" of logocentrism.
Slavoj Zizek is not a philosopher who stoops to conquer objects but a radical voice who believes that philosophy is nothing if it is not embodied, nothing if it is only abstract. For him, true philosophy always speaks of something rather than nothing. Those interested in the genesis of contemporary thought and the fate of reason in our "age of anxiety" will find this coupling of texts not only philosophically relevant, but vitally important.
Slavoj Zizek is the author of The Sublime Object of Ideology, Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel and the Critique of Ideology, and most recently, The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters. Currently he is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. Judith Norman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

The Plague of Fantasies 
New York: Verso, 1997.

This is an extended explanation of the psychoanalytical concept of fantasy. The plague' of the title refers to the deluge of pseudo-concrete images which Zizek places in an antagonistic relationship to the ever greater abstractions which determine our lives. As part of this discussion, Zizek advances one of his most considered analyses of cyberspace, which threatens to abolish the dimension of Symbolic virtuality. Given that fantasy plays a significant role in Zizek's anatomy of the human condition, the first chapter - "The Seven Veils of Fantasy" - clarifies the concept and makes the book a most suited for a first-time Zizek reader. As an added enticement, this work contains Zizek's famous Hegelian analysis of German, French and English toilet designs.


Gaze And Voice As Love Objects
Durham: Duke University Press, 1996

The gaze entices, inspects, fascinates. The voice hypnotizes, seduces, disarms. Are gaze and voice part of the relationship we call love . . . or hate? If so, what part? How do they function? This provocative book examines love as the mediating entity in the essential antagonism between the sexes, and gaze and voice as love's medium. The contributors proceed from the Lacanian premise that "there is no sexual relationship," that the sexes are in no way complementary and that love—figured in the gaze and the voice —embodies the promise and impossibility of any relation between them.

The first detailed Lacanian elaboration of this topic, Gaze and Voice as Love Objects examines the status of gaze, voice, and love in philosophy from Plato to Kant, in ideology from early Christianity to contemporary cynicism, in music from Hildegard of Bingen to Richard Wagner, in literature from Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence to Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, and in cinema from Michael Powell's Peeping Tom to Kieslowski's A Short Film on Love. Throughout, the contributors seek to show that the conflict between the sexes is the site of a larger battle over the destiny of modernity. With insights into the underlying target of racist and sexist violence, this book offers surprising revelations into the nature of an ancient enigma—love.

Contributors. Elisabeth Bronfen, Mladen Dolar, Fredric Jameson, Renata Salecl, Slavoj Žižek, Alenka Zupancic

The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters 
New York: Verso, 1996.

This book forms part of a larger project for Zizek to reinvigorate the reputation of German Idealism which, for him, constitutes the bedrock of all philosophy. His particular hope with this monograph is that he enhances the perception of Schelling's Ages of the World as 'one of the seminal works of materialism', divining in it a forerunner to the works of Marx and Lacan among others. The first part of the book endeavors to explain the Ages of the World, while the second part compares the reception of Schelling's work with the reception of Hegel's work using Lacan as the key to both. As can be imagined from this brief description, the first two parts of this volume make a complex and demanding read. The third part of the book (the 'related matters' of the title) is only relatively more accessible, but contains interesting discussions of both cyberspace and quantum physics, which prefigure some of Zizek's later work.


London; New York: Verso, 1994
For a long time, the term ‘ideology’ was in disrepute, having become associated with such unfashionable notions as fundamental truth and the eternal verities. The tide has turned, and recent years have seen a revival of interest in the questions that ideology poses to social and cultural theory, and to political practice.Mapping Ideology is a comprehensive reader covering the most important contemporary writing on the subject. Including Slavoj Žižek’s study of the development of the concept from Marx to the present, assessments of the contributions of Lukács and the Frankfurt School by Terry Eagleton, Peter Dews and Seyla Benhabib, and essays by Adorno, Lacan and Althusser, Mapping Ideology is an invaluable guide to the most dynamic field in cultural theory.

The Metastases of Enjoyment: Six. Essays on Woman and Causality 
New York: Verso, 1994.

This is one of Zizek's most rewarding books as it covers a range of crucial topics from the cause of the subject through the role of the superego to the impossibility of the sexual relationship. In each of the six essays, Zizek begins by asking (and ultimately answering) the kind of basic questions that anyone interested in Lacanian psychoanalysis sooner or later wants to know the answers to. In the spirit of this fundamental questioning, the book's Appendix contains a self-interview in which Zizek poses to himself the kind of queries that bother what he terms 'common knowledge' about Lacanian theory as well as his own work. As a form of self-interrogation is the elementary procedure of all his books, this interview represents Zizek in his essence or, as he might put it (in Hegelese), Zizek in the mode of 'in-itself.


Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel and the Critique of Ideology 
Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.

This is probably Zizek's lengthiest consideration of the radical negative gesture which he consistently identifies as the hallmark of 'true' philosophy. Here he sets out the case that Lacan is the third philosopher to accomplish this gesture after Plato and Kant, both of whom also trumped the relativistic attitudes of their day by way of an act of even greater radicalization. While this may be the larger picture of the book, and part of his project as a whole, Zizek also produces his most sustained explanation of Hegel's philosophy here, as well as dissecting the cogito. As this synopsis suggests, Tarrying with the Negative is, at times, a difficult book but one which repays the effort of your labor.


Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan In Hollywood and Out 
New York: Routledge, 1992.

Picking up on one of the themes of For They Know Not What They Do, Zizek here attends to the ideology of cynicism - the fetishist 'I know very well... but all the same... 'formulation which is one of the mainstays of his work. The book is structured around five chapters, each of which endeavors to explain a fundamental Lacanian concept - letter, woman, repetition, phallus and father. Hollywood is once again the lure in this text as Zizek elaborates each concept with reference to popular culture. However, as with Looking Awry, the familiarity of the examples does not necessarily make this the most accessible of his books to read.
In the second edition of the book (Routledge, 2000), Zizek added a chapter on the concept of reality. Using the film The Matrix as an example, he looks at the relationship between the Symbolic and the Real and explains why the big Other does not exist.


For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor 
New York: Verso, 1991.

Presented as a sequel to The Sublime Object of Ideology, this book examines the historical change emblematized by the shift in the telling of the Rabinovitch joke from that first book. In particular, it analyses the re-emergence of militant nationalism and racism in the wake of the break-up of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe. Zizek identifies the cause of this re-emergence in an eruption of enjoyment. This book also contains an extended discussion of the concept of the vanishing mediator.

Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture 
Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991.

This text is often cited as the easiest of Zizek's books to navigate, a reputation underscored by the many and varied references to popular culture he makes throughout the text. However, as Zizek admits, this book should probably be subtitled "Everything He Wasn't Able to Put into The Sublime Object". Therefore, unless you already understand the Lacanian concepts of the Real and jouissance (the two aspects of Lacan's work upon which he concentrates here), then some of the analyses will seem unnecessarily foreshortened. If, on the other hand, you read The Sublime Object of Ideology first, you will be better able to grasp the subtleties of his arguments concerning detective fiction, pornography, democracy and Hitchcock.


The Sublime Object of Ideology
New York: Verso, 1989.

This is Zizek's first major work in English and it remains one of his most accessible books. Mixing philosophy, politics and psychoanalysis with examples from high and low culture, he sets out in clear, explanatory detail his understanding of Hegel's dialectic, the basic thesis that underpins all his analyses, and one which finds that contradiction is an internal condition of every identity. Central to this enterprise is the examination of the theory which he returns to time and again - that the subject is the subject of a void.


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