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  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473581081
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

On Freedom

Four Songs of Care and Constraint




An expansive, exhilarating work of nonfiction on freedom, by one of the most significant writers of our day

*A GUARDIAN 'BOOKS OF 2021' PICK*

'One of the most electrifying writers at work in America today, among the sharpest and most supple thinkers of her generation' - Olivia Laing

So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to our autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom's long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with the term enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept's complexities in four distinct realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate.

Drawing on a vast range of material, from critical theory to pop culture to the intimacies and plain exchanges of daily life, Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing "practices of freedom" by which we negotiate our interrelation with-indeed, our inseparability from-others, with all the care and constraint that relation entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.

For Nelson, thinking publicly through the knots in our culture-from recent art world debates to the turbulent legacies of sexual liberation, from the painful paradoxes of addiction to the lure of despair in the face of the climate crisis-is itself a practice of freedom, a means of forging fortitude, courage, and company. On Freedom is an invigorating, essential book for challenging times.

  • Published: 2 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473581081
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic and the author of five books of non-fiction. Her books include The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (a New York Times Editor’s Choice) and The Argonauts (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award), as well as four collections of poetry. In 2016 she was awarded the MacArthur Genius fellowship. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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