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Paperback | $23.95 Trade | £19.95 | 196 pp. | 5.375 x 8 in | August 2003 | ISBN: 9780262740258
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The Puppet and the Dwarf

The Perverse Core of Christianity


Slavoj Žižek has been called "an academic rock star" and "the wild man of theory"; his writing mixes astonishing erudition and references to pop culture in order to dissect current intellectual pieties. In The Puppet and the Dwarf he offers a close reading of today's religious constellation from the viewpoint of Lacanian psychoanalysis. He critically confronts both predominant versions of today's spirituality—New Age gnosticism and deconstructionist-Levinasian Judaism—and then tries to redeem the "materialist" kernel of Christianity. His reading of Christianity is explicitly political, discerning in the Pauline community of believers the first version of a revolutionary collective. Since today even advocates of Enlightenment like Jurgen Habermas acknowledge that a religious vision is needed to ground our ethical and political stance in a "postsecular" age, this book—with a stance that is clearly materialist and at the same time indebted to the core of the Christian legacy—is certain to stir controversy.

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek, a philosopher and cultural critic, is Senior Researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, and International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at the University of London. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity, The Parallax View, The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic (with John Milbank), and Žižek’s Jokes (Did you hear the one about Hegel and negation?), these five published by the MIT Press.


“A witty, informative trip...both erudite and accessible...”—Rick Mitchell, Leonardo Reviews
“His writing is bold, confident and contentious.”—Julian Baggini, The Philosopher's Magazine
The Puppet and the Dwarf is Žižek's most compelling and passionate writing on Christianity to date.”—Erik Davis, Bookforum
“Quite possibly the most entertaining philosopher working today. Žižek knows how to think the unthinkable.”—Jori Finkel, Village Voice
“Slavoj Žižek may have the strongest 'brand identity'...of any cultural theorist now in the marketplace of ideas.”—Scott McLemee, The Chronicle of Higher Education
“Žižek is the first Marxist to write theology in a post-marxist, post-secular age.”—Eugene McCarraher, In These Times
“...Žižek mixes Pauline speculations with analyses of everything from G. K. Chesterton to chocolate eggs.”—Terry Eagleton, TLS
“Žižek rarely fails to entertain...”—Library Journal


“With this book Žižek consolidates his reputation as the foremost intellectual gadfly of the postmodern cosmopolis. For anyone interested in the contemporary vogue of the 'theological turn' or theories of 'religion without God,' The Puppet and the Dwarf is indispensable reading...If Socrates underwent a ten-year analysis with Jacques Lacan, the result would be Slavoj Žižek.”
Richard Wolin, Distinguished Professor of History and Comparative Literature, the Graduate Center, City University of New York