2005-10-01

Half harmful ... and half harmless?

Although this list came out in May, the blog-based response to it seems to be getting under way now. First the infrequently read right-wing magazine Human Events asked a group of panelists to assemble a list of the ten most harmful boooks of the 19th and 20th centuries. Now a bunch of bloggers are being asked how many of them they have read (I found one list at Majikthise, certainly there are more). I've read 5 of the 10, but undoubtedly should have read more.

K. Marx and F. Engels, The Communist Manifesto: No surprise here, probably everyone who has studied sociological or political theory has read it.

Mao Zedong, Quotations from Chairman Mao: I did indeed pick this up out of curiousity when I was very young, and found it quite opaque. A line I remember: "A revolution is not a dinner party."

K. Marx, Capital: Charmingly, they give the title in German, even though it is eminently translatable. I'll happily confess to not having read the whole thing.

A. Comte, The Course of Positive Philosophy: I am a little puzzled as to why this is on the list, but then there are a lot of things about the mind of this panel that could be thought of as puzzling.

F. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Not my favorite of his books, really, but still Freddy gets blamed for a lot of stuff that wasn't his fault.

They also have a list of 20 "honorable mentions" that did not make the list, of which I have read 9. For my own part, I stand by my position that the most dangerous book is a heavy one on the top shelf.

Update: Another point of view ... the American Library Association maintains a list of the 100 most challenged books, which people have requested be removed from library collections.

4 comments:

R Byrne said...

A new York band called Maxi Geil and Playcolt have a lyric in their latest single ("Makin' Love in the Sunshine") that fits your own experience of Das Kapital: "This kind of love is like Das Kapital/Often quote it, Know who wrote it/Never read it at all..."

Eric Gordy said...

This is better than the alternatives I can think of:

--"she always made me so uneasy / every time she'd quote the Grundrisse"

--"For you my heart is under lock / guarded by Ludwig Feuerbach"

--"every week and every hour / I have it in for Bruno Bauer"

--"don't know much about The German Ideology"

Okay. I'll stop

traveller one said...

Interesting list- I've only read three of them and that was so long ago. Maybe it's time to pick up another one.

R Byrne said...

I love your bright eyes
I live your shoes
We go together
Like Guttari and Deleuze