The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt

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The writings of Carl Schmitt form what is arguably the most disconcerting, original, and yet still unfamiliar body of twentieth-century political thought. In the English-speaking world, he is terra incognita, a name associated with Nazism, the author of a largely untranslated oeuvre forming no recognizable system, coming to us from a disturbing place and time in the form of fragments.

The Enemy is a comprehensive intertextual reconstruction and analysis of all of Schmitt's major works—his books, articles and pamphlets from 1919–1950—presented in an arresting narrative form. This form reveals the complex ways in which his ideas took shape in the intertwining time lines of civil and world wars and retraces the path of his interventions on the constantly shifting battlefield of the inter-war era.

The lines of thought which emerge out of this meticulous study on democracy, constitutional law and international law will be startling to those who know nothing about Schmitt, as well as to those who have had to rely on the existing secondary literature to form an opinion of him. For the first time, the stature and topicality of this disturbing figure is incontrovertibly demonstrated.

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The Young Carl Schmitt
Dictatorship Sovereign and Commissarial

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About the author (2000)

Gopal Balakrishnan is the author of The Enemy: An Intellectual Portrait of Carl Schmitt, and editor of Debating "Empire" and (with Benedict Anderson) Mapping the Nation. A member of the New Left Review editorial board, he teaches Contemporary Theory at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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