Carl Schmitt, Land and Sea – a new translation

In 2015 Telos Press published a new translation of Carl Schmitt, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation. While in Cambridge earlier this week I was kindly given a copy by the translator, Samuel Garrett Zeitlin.

schmitt_land_and_sea_medOriginally published in 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation recounts Carl Schmitt’s view of world history “as a history of the battle of sea powers against land powers and of land powers against sea powers.” Schmitt here unfolds his view of world history from the Peloponnesian War to European colonial expansion to the birth pangs of capitalism, while polemically setting Nazi Germany as a continental land power against Britain and the United States as its maritime enemies. In Land and Sea, Schmitt offers his interpretations of the rise of Venice, piracy, “corsair capitalism,” the spatial revolution of European colonial expansion, the rise of the British empire, and his readings of thinkers as diverse as Seneca, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, and Benjamin Disraeli.

This new and authorized edition from Telos Press Publishing, translated by Samuel Garrett Zeitlin and edited by Russell A. Berman and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin, includes extensive textual annotations that compare critical variations between the original 1942 edition of Land and Sea and the subsequent editions published in 1954 and 1981.

I’ve been critical of Schmitt, and his contemporary appropriation (see my ‘Reading Schmitt Geopolitically: Nomos, Territory and Großraum‘ in Radical Philosophy 161, 2010, pp. 18-26), but it’s good to have this work available in an accurate translation with apparatus.

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