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International Dialogue

International Dialogue

Article Title

Repeating Žižek

Abstract

It has become a genre protocol for reviews of Slavoj Žižek’s books to comment critically—and, too often, dismissively—on his tremendous output. His newest books, of which there seem to be several each year, not only echo previous ones, but also reproduce whole passages verbatim. Terry Eagleton has called Žižek “one of the great self-plagiarisers of our time, constantly thieving stuff from his own publications” (Eagleton 2014). While I have contributed to this genre protocol in a past review, I have come to regard Žižek’s furious publishing pace as, in part, a strategy to make a living as a radical intellectual under capitalism—a contradictory endeavor that cannot but leave its mark on the books. If that is a “vulgar” materialist explanation, then so be it, for the vulgar materialism lies on the side of the book market itself, which is eager to capitalize on Žižek’s celebrity. Žižek himself has acknowledged that he does not value all of his books equally; in the collection under review, for example, his entry in the contributors’ notes lists only eight as his “main works” (290).

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