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Modernity and Its DiscontentsMaking and Unmaking the Bourgeois from Machiavelli to Bellow$
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Steven B. Smith

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300198393

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300198393.001.0001

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The Apocalyptic Imagination: Nietzsche, Sorel, Schmitt

The Apocalyptic Imagination: Nietzsche, Sorel, Schmitt

(p.243) Chapter 12 The Apocalyptic Imagination: Nietzsche, Sorel, Schmitt
Modernity and Its Discontents

Steven B. Smith

Yale University Press

Modernity has always carried the seeds of the counter-revolution. The counter-revolution was not intended to be a conservative restoration of the old regime. It was an apocalyptic scenario that promised redemption through violence and destruction. Revolutionary nihilism is a distinctively modern phenomenon and has advocates on both the Right and the Left, but in all cases was animated by its opposition to bourgeois culture and the Enlightenment. From Joseph de Maistre’s attack on the legacy of the French Revolution to Georges Sorel’s celebration of violence and the myth of the general strike, these revolutionaries helped to create antinomian movements that would find expression in both fascism and communism. This chapter examines the influence of these apocalyptic doctrines on twentieth-century thinkers like Lukàcs, Heidegger, and Carl Schmitt.

Keywords:   Counter-Revolution, Heidegger, Martin, Lukàcs, Georg, Nietzsche, Friedrich, Myth, Nihilism, Pessimism, Reification, Schmitt, Carl, Sorel, Georges, Violence

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