Henri Lefebvre, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche Or the Realm of Shadows – translated by David Fernbach, introduced by Stuart Elden, Verso, February 2020
Now out from Verso – and a reminder that if buying from Verso direct it will come with a bundled e-book.
The great French Marxist philosopher weighs up the contributions of the three major critics of modernity
Henri Lefebvre saw Marx as an ‘unavoidable, necessary, but insufficient starting point’, and always insisted on the importance of Hegel to understanding Marx. Metaphilosophy also suggested the significance he ascribed to Nietzsche, in the ‘realm of shadows’ through which philosophy seeks to think the world. Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche: or the Realm of the Shadows proposes that the modern world is, at the same time, Hegelian in terms of the state, Marxist in terms of the social and society and Nietzschean in terms of civilisation and its values. As early as 1939, Lefebvre had pioneered a French reading of Nietzsche that rejected the philosopher’s appropriation by fascists, bringing out the tragic implications of Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is dead’ long before this approach was followed by such later writers as Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze. Forty years later, in the last of his philosophical writings, Lefebvre juxtaposed the contributions of the three great thinkers, in a text that’s themes remain surprisingly relevant today.