Dmitri Nikulin is professor of philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York. He is the author of a number of books including Dialectic and Dialogue; Comedy, Seriously; and The Concept of History.
Foreword: close-ups and close-downs
1. On gods and demons
2. The other in the mirror
3. Conversation and critique
4. The burdens and blessings of boredom
5. The eternal return of the other
6. Establishing the laws of history
7. Names and voices in history
8. The comedy of philosophy
9. The gifts and dangers of free speech
10. The promise of the beautiful
11. Rethinking the ontological and scientific revolutions
12. Productive imagination
Dmitri Nikulin is our best student of Bakhtinian dialogue—understood not only as multiplicity, tolerance, and mutual talk, but as a lubricant for the truest practice of both philosophy and comedy. True practice, for the lonely modern subject, requires that we rid ourselves of the occluded mirror. These twelve incandescent essays show how necessary and difficult that task is.
In this collection of twelve impressively erudite essays, Dmitri Nikulin provides close readings of crucial philosophical and literary texts. His interpretations include philosophers from Plato to Rorty, Agnes Heller, and Rancière and poets from Homer and Theognis to Dostoevskij and Tolstoy. Nikulin analyses his topics with extreme accuracy and high originality. The book amounts to no less than a theory of modernity, reflecting on subjectivity and rationality, boredom and comedy, nature and history, free speech and the beautiful, science and imagination.