Another Freedom: The Alternative History of an Idea

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 1, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 360 pages
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The word “freedom” is so overly used—and frequently abused—that it is always in danger of becoming nothing but a cliché. In Another Freedom, Svetlana Boym offers us a refreshing new portrait of the age-old concept. Exploring the rich cross-cultural history of the idea of freedom, from its origins in ancient Greece to the present day, she argues that our attempts to imagine freedom should occupy the space of not only “what is” but also “what if.” Beginning with notions of sacrifice and the emergence of a public sphere for politics and art, Boym expands her account to include the relationships between freedom and liberation, modernity and terror, and political dissent and creative estrangement. While depicting a world of differences, she affirms lasting solidarities based on the commitment to the passionate thinking that reflections on freedom require. To do so, Boym assembles a remarkable cast of characters: Aeschylus and Euripides, Kafka and Mandelstam, Arendt and Heidegger, and a virtual encounter between Dostoevsky and Marx on the streets of Paris.

By offering a fresh look at the strange history of this idea, Another Freedom delivers a nuanced portrait of freedom, one whose repercussions will be felt well into the future.
 

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Contents

Freedom as Cocreation
1
Corrupted Sacrifice from Tragedy to Modernity
37
2 Political and Artistic Freedom in a CrossCultural Dialogue
77
3 Liberation with a Birch Rod and the Banality of Terrorism
103
4 Love and Freedom of the Other
159
5 Dissent Estrangement and the Ruins of Utopia
201
6 Judgment and Imagination in the Age of Terror
255
Freedom and Its Discontents
285
Notes
301
Index
347
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Svetlana Boym is the Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University, as well as an associate of the Graduate School of Design and Architecture. A writer, theorist, and media artist, she is the author of The Future of Nostalgia, among other publications.

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