With Trilogy of Resistance, the political philosopher Antonio Negri extends his intervention in contemporary politics and culture into a new medium: drama. The three plays collected for the first time in this volume dramatize the central concepts of the innovative and influential thought he has articulated in his best-selling books Empire and Multitude, coauthored with Michael Hardt. In the tradition of Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Muller, Negri’s political dramas are designed to provoke debate around the fundamental questions they raise about resistance, violence, and tyranny.
In Swarm, the protagonist searches for an effective mode of activism; with the help of a Greek-style chorus, she tries on different roles, from the suicide bomber and party apparatchik to the multitude. The Bent Man, set in fascist Italy, focuses on a woodcutter who resists fascism by bending himself in two and using his own now-twisted body as a weapon against war. In Cithaeron, perhaps the most audacious of the three plays, Negri reworks Euripides’s Bacchae to explore the circumstances that would compel a diverse and creative community to withdraw from both the despotic government that constrains it and the traditional family relationships that reinforce that despotism.
First published in France in 2009 and featuring an introduction by Negri, Trilogy of Resistance provides a direct and passionate distillation of Negri’s concepts and offers insights into one of the most important projects in political philosophy currently under way, as well as a timely reminder of the power of theater to effectively dramatize complex and challenging ideas.
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