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Marjorie Perloff

Marjorie Perloff is an author. Her most recent book is Infrathin: An Experiment in Micropoetics. Her new edition/translation of Wittgenstein’s Private Notebooks 1914–1916 will be published by Liveright in winter 2022.


Rereading Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Gods, with its “great declaration of war,” whether with a hammer or a tuning fork, on universal idols, I thought immediately—and irrelevantly—of Barack Obama. When this charismatic leader first came on the political scene, I was dazzled. A presidential candidate who fused the legacies of White Kansas (his mother) and Black Africa (his father), a presidential candidate who had published two serious books—Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope—and had actually read Kafka and Dostoevsky, a brilliant law student who became the first Black president of the Harvard Law review and whom the famous law professor Lawrence Tribe called “the most impressive student I have ever taught.”


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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