Quick follow-up on last post

Just wanted to say that I liked Read’s review, but I should say maybe I’m just getting older and just try to cram too much reading in, but this usually does not whet my taste for more, namely that x book “is a difficult book to categorize.” This invariably means that it takes too long to read to get anything out of it, which means that I could read someone whose work is easier to categorize as really good in terms of just being darn good stylistically–such that its difficulty to categorize is not what comes to mind. (This is not about Read’s review or the book in question, since I haven’t read it, only the “well, you just don’t understand because it doesn’t fit your genre categories” is a silly cop-out for what is really sloppy writing—not that there aren’t exceptions to this. Though, yeah, I guess I would doubt that Negri can pull this off, come to think of it.)

One comment

  1. I hear what you are saying. Works that are called “difficult to categorize”, at the very least, are going to be time consuming and involved. And the pay-off is dicey. Sometimes all that term means is poorly developed, or self-involved. And, I also agree that as I become older, or at least more wedded to working on my own projects, I feel like i have less time to decide, “Hey, I’m going to just go read this book no one knows what to do with.”

    Though, really, I am not sure the present book under discussion is that hard to categorize, it is a collection of some really long interviews/conversations, and some essays. It is both a book on and by Negri. Though the title is In Praise of the Common, it could just as easily be entitled, In Attack of Agamben Mainly, Plus Several Other Figures.
    I guess in that sense it is hard to categorize it, the interview is sprawling (but I would say also good), and while all of the essays address some issue in that sprawl, it is hard to say the book has some overall theme or even less a thesis.
    Though, lastly, Negri’s essay “The Political Monster” is worth a read. I remember a little over a year ago, back when I first trying to blog, Shaviro had a series of posts up on the question of monstrosity that Hardt and Negri praise as the monstrous flesh of the multitude. Shaviro had argued at the time that such a moves ignores that for Marx, the monstrous was capitalism. At the time I argued that the monstrous was something I wanted to be on the side of. Anyway, in this essay Negri not only extends the analysis about why he is on the side of monsters, but also specifically deals with this change from capitalism as monster to multitude as monster.

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