Disconsolate Dreamers : On Pessimism and Utopia by Evelyn Elsaesser

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Our world is increasingly sceptical of happy endings. Notions of resistance or alternatives - of hope - seem evermore ill-fated as we resign to a slow and painful descent further into capitalism. However, from a critical position, one that does not shy away from the scale of the horror facing us, we can begin to rethink utopianism, and plot new and speculative pathways for collective escape. Through quiet acts of naysaying to the world, of nihilistic or self-destructive events, or in wider-ranging renegotiations of what's acceptable and possible at the limits of reason, pessimism revives the possibility for radical change. It calls for a disentanglement from the world and, in so doing, offers a glimpse at the utopian impossible. Against the pernicious machinations of modern-day capitalism and a perverse optimism that sustains it, Disconsolate Dreamers explores the extent to which pessimism is compatible with a radical utopian goal - namely, a collective escape from the misery of modern existence. It shows that, in a thoroughly hopeless world devoid of rational alternatives, it is time for the Left to consider the pessimist a helpful guide out of the somnolence of capitalist realism, revealing how pessimism necessitates a radical revision of utopian alterity.
Binding: Paperback / softback

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