From Richard Seymour, one of the UK’s leading public intellectuals, comes a characteristic blend of forensic insight and analysis, personal journey, and a vivid respect for the natural world.
A planetary fever-dream. An environmental awakening that is also a sleep-walking, unsteadily weaving between history, earth science, psychoanalysis, evolution, biology, art and politics. A search for transcendence, beyond the illusory eternal present.
These essays chronicle the kindling of ecological consciousness in a confessed ignoramus. They track the first enchantment of the author, his striving to comprehend the coming catastrophe, and his attempt to formulate a new global sensibility in which we value anew what unconditionally matters.
About the Author
Richard Seymour is a writer and broadcaster from Northern Ireland and the author of numerous books about politics including Against Austerity and Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics. His writing appears in The New York Times, the London Review of Books, the Guardian, Prospect, Jacobin, and innumerable other places including his own Patreon. He is an editor at Salvage magazine.
What thinker would you bring to an earth on fire? You would not want to leave Richard Seymour at home: he is essential company for an age of compound catastrophes. In these essays, he brings his trademark mix of psychoanalysis and Marxism, erudition and curiosity, pessimism and wonder, intimacy and sublimity to bear on the ecological crisis. They will keep you focused as the flames rise higher.’
Andreas Malm, author of How to Blow Up a Pipeline and White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism
‘One of the most consistently brilliant and lyrical thinkers writing today turns his attention to the climate catastrophe – and the results are minatory and indispensable.’
China Miéville, author of October: The Story of the Russian Revolution
‘Richard Seymour’s latest book, which consists of urgent, eloquent bulletins from the catastrophic future into which we are currently being blown back at such a rapidly accelerating rate, is a characteristically cool-headed critique of capitalism, but also a passionate, often profoundly affecting threnody to that which it so cruelly destroys. The Disenchanted Earth combines Marxism’s cold and warm streams to brilliant effect, finding beauty and hope in the ugly, hopeless situation to which we appear to have condemned ourselves as a species. Seymour’s attitude of militant melancholia is exactly what is needed in these times.‘
Matthew Beaumont, author of The Walker: On Finding and Losing Yourself in the Modern City
‘A rousing and impassioned plea for climate sanity. A howl of grief and a rallying cry.’
Cal Flyn, Author of Islands of Abandonment: Life in the post-human landscape
‘A haunting set of meditations on the almost unthinkable ecological crises that now engulf us, and their relentless political and economic causes. This is a book for anyone who refuses to turn away from truths that are as important as they are discomforting.’
William Davies, author of Unprecedented?: How Covid-19 Revealed the Politics of Our Economy
‘This book made me anxious, gave me nightmares, and threw me into a terrible rage. It’s excellent — I’ve been recommending it to everyone.’
Anouchka Grose, psychoanalyst and author of A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health
‘Incisive. Truly radical. Full of short sentences and important insights. Seymour grabs environmentalism by the scruff of the neck. In thrall to its catastrophism, he also wants to save it from apocalyptic nihilism. You won’t agree with all he says; nor should you. But you will always want to engage.’
Fred Pearce, environment writer and author of The Last Generation: How nature will take her revenge for climate change
‘The present-day ecological predicament entails the need to act immediately—within a few years—to avert the lasting wreck of our civilization and the climate that hosted it. No writer that I can think of is a better guide to this task than Richard Seymour: here is the quickest of thinkers, operating from the longest-term perspective. The Disenchanted Earth is an indispensable book.‘
Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision and Utopia or Bust
Praise for The Twittering Machine:
“Rather than wondering ponderously if this is ‘cancel culture’ or whatever, we might ask ourselves: Why were all these people tweeting? … This is not a book with an accompanying TED Talk, a ten-step program, or One Weird Trick to Fix Everything. Seymour’s pose here is that of a working analyst, not a confident diagnostician. He draws connections, he sketches notes toward a further diagnosis.” —Max Read, Bookforum
“A very brilliant deconstruction of social media and our death drive to engage with it … What’s so useful about the book is that it dispenses with the platitudes we tend to hear about social media, and takes a psychoanalytical approach to social media that feels fresh and freshly horrifying.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“What Susan Sontag did for photography, what Christopher Lasch did for the culture of narcissism, Richard Seymour has done for social media. I read it with a sense of recognition, and alarm.” —Adam Shatz, contributing editor at the London Review of Books
“A sophisticated critique of the age of social media.” —Kirkus Reviews