This book came together during a sabbatical leave graciously awarded me by New York University. I also held at the time a Remarque Fellowship at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. I am most grateful for the support provided by both institutions.
I’d like to express my thanks as well to the scholars, colleagues, students, and friends who over the years held me to account while I worked out some of the ideas I’ve developed in this book. There are too many of you to list, but every page bears the trace of your exacting friendship. Thank you.
Early versions of some of these pages appeared as “On the Nature of Marx’s Things,” in Lucretius and Modernity, ed. Jacques Lezra and Liza Blake, 125–43 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016); “The Primal Scenes of Political Theology,” in Political Theology and Early Modernity, ed. Julia Lupton and Graham Hammill, 183–212 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012); and “Adorno’s Monsters,” in Escape to Life: German Intellectuals in New York: A Compendium on Exile after 1933, ed. Eckart Goebel and Sigrid Weigel, 27–54 (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012). An excerpt of Chapter 6 appeared as “Uncountable Matters,” in Oxford Literary Review 39, no. 1 (2017).
Marx wrote that “The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future.” This book comes from my sons Gabe and Nat, and from Emilia, my West Coast daughter: they’re the poetry of my time’s future. And this book, which is theirs, is also dedicated to them. (p.202)