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Book Title

On Freedom

Subtitle
Four Songs of Care and Constraint
Author 1
Maggie Nelson
Body
So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom’s long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with it enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept’s complexities in four realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate.

Drawing on a vast range of material, Maggie Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing “practices of freedom” by which we negotiate our interrelation with others, with all the care and constraint that entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.

As with all of Nelson’s work, how she thinks—and how that thinking expresses itself in style—is crucial to the book’s achievement. Through her generosity, rigor, and willingness to critically engage reigning pieties, Nelson shows that new forms of thinking and talking are available to us, ones that welcome a chorus of voices, and recommit us to our entanglement, even at its most difficult. On Freedom is an ambitious, essential book that reinvigorates the art of criticism.

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List Price
$17.00
ISBN
ISBN
978-1-64445-202-8
Format
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
Pages
312
Trim Size
Trim Size
5.5 x 8.25
Keynote
Now in paperback, an enduring work of criticism from one of the most important writers of our time

About the Author

Maggie  Nelson
Credit: Sarah St Clair Renard

Maggie Nelson is the author of several books of prose and poetry including The Red Parts, Bluets, the National Book Critics Circle Award–winner The Argonauts, and On Freedom. She teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

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Praise

  • “[A] sense of optimism sits at the heart of On Freedom. What else is possible? it asks. . . . On Freedom is an argument for how we engage with objects of analysis—and one another—in a way that is principled but not rigid, that displays care for other people’s perceptions, pains and desires, and that has respect for what we cannot know.”—Ismail Muhammad, New York TimesMagazine
  • “In discussion after discussion, Nelson shows the same alertness to context, intellectual modesty and the conviction that ethical goodness is never all on one side. She doesn’t aim to provide a positive account of the meaning of freedom. But if we understand freedom, above all, through our opposition to bondage, we can learn a great deal, as her book shows, from carefully cataloging and challenging the many ways of being unfree.”—Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Times Book Review
  • On Freedom is ultimately a book that asks us to boldly and generously enter the minefield, to pick up what we find useful, to be pushed and provoked, to polish and discard and reinvent, and then to decide, alone and, ideally, in communion, where to go next.”—Meara Sharma, The Washington Post
  • “Nelson bounds across knotty subjects like #MeToo, sex positivity, addiction, queer theory, anxiety and carceral feminism without tiring of the painstaking work of untangling controversies. . . . After reading Nelson, your understanding of the word ["freedom"], and of humanity itself, will expand in surprising directions.”—Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times
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