Slavoj Zizek’s Less Than Nothing

Slavoj has sent me more or less the whole text of his forthcoming book on Hegel called Less Than Nothing so that I can write some preparatory essays for it in the Guardian and other publications. What I shall also be doing is keeping a running commentary going on here as I read the text. It runs to about 1200 words, so it might take quite a long time to get through this and the book is coming out in April. What will do the dip into it, quote excerpts and generally comment on what I think of the content. This is very exciting and I hope people will follow what is going on here and comment on it. I have had a quick look through the text, well, some of it, and it is a complex but engaging piece of work as far as I can see and it raises all manner of issues. The first half of the book is a reading of Hegel as retrospective teleology, that is he rejects the usual reading of Hegel which sees him as somebody who has already made his mind up about the absolute and his dialectic is there merely to prove that everything that happens is part of that absolute. Zizek, as you might expect, turns Hegel on his head and points out that essentially, he was presenting the universe as something which emerges from contingency rather than necessity.

I hope you will follow this and that we can all get prepared for the publication of the blockbuster later this year.


17 Responses to Slavoj Zizek’s Less Than Nothing

  1. Peter Thompson says:

    ummm, 1200 pages that should be, not words!

  2. Anonymous says:

    You should put a feedburner widget or something, so that your updates come straight to our inboxes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Maybe you should tweet your thoughts paragraph by paragraph.

  4. Will says:

    I can’t wait until April 2nd, so please keep us updated often!

  5. Manuel says:

    I see that the publication date has moved to 28th May now. Is that correct?

  6. hi peter, as i just remarked on FB, the book mainly consists of excerpts from previous articles. The part on ‘concrete universality’ is almost a 1:1-rendition of an article he wrote for Critical Inquiry in 2008, “Tolerance an an ideological category”. I guess whoever has kept track on zizek in the last 5 years or so will find this is a very recycled product. which doesn’t make it less true, of course, but just to let you know…

    • Peter Thompson says:

      Well, Slavoj’s work always has a high degree of self-plagiarism involved and we are surely used to that. I think quite a proportion of the new book is actually new as far as I can see but we’ll have to wait until we see the whole thing.

  7. Bill says:

    just got it today…some easy summer fluff to fill the void…gotta love his bio (;
    “Slavoj Zizek was born, writes books, and will die.”

  8. Still waiting for it (to be shipped to Malaysia). *patiently waiting*

  9. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

  10. Peter Thompson says:

    WordPress seems to be dominant and I have no problems with it (other than finding time to blog!)

  11. plunderspunk says:

    re-reading this bok, and getting a bit more out of it the 2nd time around. I still have trouble with some of his idiosyncracies but overall thanks to Wikipedia I can at least familiarize myself with some of the less oblique concepts. The problem with Zizek IMO is that he is A.) very intelligent, and has difficulty talking down to mere mortals such as myself, and B) the subject matter doesn’t lend itself very well to being “dumb-downable”. So for me it is about finding what is worthwhile to assimilate and leaving the rest for another reading. At least that’s my story, and I am sticking to it. Unfortunately when I try to read kant, or Hegel (ioe: Critique of Pure Reason, or Phenomenology of Spirit,) those tomes do not improve clarity, they in fact sometimes make the waters murkier in some ways. And then of course there is the enigma of Lacan… Does anyone have a suggestion re: a good textbook , or other source which would help to clarify some of these concepts? Any suggestions will undoubtedly dump more salt int he wound, but may ultimately help me to assimilate Zizek’s brilliant book.
    Thanks, Bill

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