The Virus in the Age of Madness
Publisher: Yale University Press
Translator: Steven B. Kennedy
Issue date: July 2020
A trenchant look at how the coronavirus reveals the dangerous fault lines of contemporary society
As seen on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS: “A stirring alarm addressed to an unsettled world.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Forget the world that came before. The author of American Vertigo serves up an incisive look at how COVID-19 reveals the dangerous fault lines of contemporary society.
With medical mysteries, rising death tolls, and conspiracy theories beamed minute by minute through the vast web universe, the coronavirus pandemic has irrevocably altered societies around the world. In this sharp essay, world-renowned philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy interrogates the many meanings and metaphors we have assigned to the pandemic—and what they tell us about ourselves.
Drawing on the philosophical tradition from Plato and Aristotle to Lacan and Foucault, Lévy asks uncomfortable questions about reality and mythology: he rejects the idea that the virus is a warning from nature, the inevitable result of global capitalism; he questions the heroic status of doctors, asking us to think critically about the loci of authority and power; he challenges the panicked polarization that dominates online discourse. Lucid, incisive, and always original, Lévy takes a bird’s-eye view of the most consequential historical event of our time and proposes a way to defend human society from threats to our collective future.
A portion of the author’s proceeds will be donated to Binc (The Book Industry Charitable Foundation).
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher, activist, filmmaker, and the author of over thirty books. He is widely regarded as one of the West’s most important public intellectuals.