On Carl Schmitt's Late Writings
Since his death, the writings of Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) have been debated, cited, and adopted by political and legal thinkers on both the left and right with increasing frequency, though not without controversy given Schmitt’s unwavering support for National Socialism before and during World War II. In Perilous Futures, Peter Uwe Hohendahl calls for critical scrutiny of Schmitt’s later writings, the work in which Schmitt wrestles with concerns that retain present-day relevance: globalization, asymmetrical warfare, and the shifting international order. Hohendahl argues that Schmitt’s work seems to offer solutions to these present-day issues, although the ambiguity of his beliefs means that Schmitt’s later work is a problematic guide.
Focusing on works Schmitt published after the war—including The Nomos of the Earth, Theory of the Partisan and Political Theology II—as well as his posthumously published diaries, Hohendahl reads these works critically against the backdrop of their biographical and historical contexts, he charts the shift in Schmitt’s perspective from a German nationalist focus to a European and then international agenda, while attending to both the conceptual and theoretical continuities with his prewar work and addressing the tension between the specific circumstances in which Schmitt was writing and the later international appropriation. Crossing disciplines of history, political theory, international relations, German studies, and political philosophy, Hohendahl brings Schmitt’s later writings into contemporary discourse and forces us to reexamine what we believe about Carl Schmitt.
Peter Uwe Hohendahl
Peter Uwe Hohendahl is Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. He is an editor of the series Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought, which is copublished by Cornell University Press and the Cornell University Library. He is the author most recently of The Fleeting Promise of Art: Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory Revisited, also from Cornell.
The Fleeting Promise of Art
Adorno's Aesthetic Theory Revisited
Peter Uwe Hohendahl reexamines Adorno’s writings on aesthetics in light of the unexpected return of the aesthetic to today’s cultural debates.
Shifting Alignments in Postwar Critical Theory
Reappraisals is a provocative account of the development of modern critical theory in Germany and the United States. Focusing on the period since World War II, Peter Uwe Hohendahl explores key debates on the function of critical...
Building a National Literature
The Case of Germany, 1830–1870
Building a National Literature boldly takes issue with traditional literary criticism for its failure to explain how literature as a body is created and shaped by institutional forces. Peter Uwe Hohendahl approaches literary history by focusing on the material and ideological structures that determine the canonical status of writers and...
The Institution of Criticism
German radicals of the 1960s announced the death of literature. For them, literature both past and present, as well as conventional discussions of literary issues, had lost its meaning. In The Institution of Criticism, Peter Uwe Hohendahl explores the implications of this crisis from a Marxist...