Axelos is a very interesting figure who can perhaps best be described as a ‘left Heideggerian’. He was a lifelong Marxist, but connected to a wide range of figures across Europe – from his native Greece, which he fled in 1945 under threat of execution, to France and Germany. He became editor of the journal Arguments, and launched the Arguments book series with Les Éditions de Minuit, which published works by Barthes, Blanchot, Deleuze, Lefebvre, Lukács and many others.
Very few of Kostas Axelos’s extensive writings are available in English. These are the pieces of which I am aware, with references to the French originals. Additions or corrections welcome. Last updated 8 December 2022 with the forthcoming translation The Game of the World.
1968 “Planetary Interlude“, translated by Sally Hess, Yale French Studies 41: 6–18. [“Introduction à la pensée planétaire” (excerpt) and “L’interlude”, Vers la pensée planetaire, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1964, pp. 20-24, 321-28]
1970 “Marx, Freud, and the Undertakings of Thought in the Future“, translated by Sally Bradshaw, Diogenes 72: 96–111. [“Marx, Freud et les taches de la pensée future”, Horizons du monde, pp. 87-99]
1976 Alienation, Praxis and Techne in the Thought of Karl Marx, translated by Ronald Bruzina, Austin: University of Texas Press (out of print). [Marx penseur de la technique, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1961]
1979 “The Set’s Game-Play of Sets“, translated by Beverly Livingston, Yale French Studies 58: 95–101. [From “Le jeu de l’ensemble des ensembles”, Horizons du monde, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1974, pp. 77-84 – this and the next are translations of the same piece.]
1979 “Play as the System of Systems“, Sub-Stance 8.4, 20–4. [From “Le jeu de l’ensemble des ensembles”, Horizons du monde, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1974, pp. 77-84 – this and the previous are translations of the same piece.]
1982 “Theses on Marx”, in N. Fischer, N. Georgopoulos and L. Patsouras (eds) Continuity and Change in Marxism, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, pp. 66-70 (out of print). [“Thèse sur Marx,” Vers la pensée planétaire, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1964, pp. 172-77]
2005 “Mondialisation without the World“, interview with Stuart Elden, Radical Philosophy 130, pp. 25-28.
2006 “The World: Being Becoming Totality“, translated by Gerald Moore, Society and Space 24(5): 643–51. [“Le monde: L’être en devenir de la totalité. Cela”, Systématique ouverte, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1984, pp. 40-54]
2009 “For Marx and Marxism: An Interview With Kostas Axelos”, with Christos Memo, Thesis Eleven, 98, 129-139.
2015 Introduction to a Future Way of Thought: On Marx and Heidegger, translated by Kenneth Mills, edited and introduced by Stuart Elden, Lüneburg: Meson Press (open access) [Einführung in ein künftiges Denken: Uber Marx Und Heidegger. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1966].
2023 The Game of the World, translated by Justin Clemens and Hellmut Munz, Edinburgh University Press [Le Jeu du Monde, Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1969].
There is also not much written about him in English. Ronald Bruzina’s introduction to Alienation, Praxis and Techne in the Thought of Karl Marx is good, and there is some useful discussion in Mark Poster, Existential Marxism in Postwar France (available online). Some of Lefebvre’s work on Axelos is in the State, Space, World collection. There are two essays on him (one by me) in Julian Bourg’s edited collection After the Deluge: New Perspectives on Postwar French Intellectual and Cultural History. I’ve also written about him in a collection of essays on Lefebvre, and in a short introduction to the Society and Space translation, and in the introduction to Introduction to a Future Way of Thought. I say a few words about my one meeting with him here.
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Thank you. Very helpful!
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Thank you for this helpful guide, Stuart. Are there any English translations of ‘Le Jeu du Monde’ currently in the works as far as you know?
Yes, there were some plans. I’m not sure where they are, but I’ll post on here as soon as something is concrete.
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