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  • Published: 5 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9780141969015
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

The Soul of the Marionette

A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom

A brilliantly enjoyable and freewheeling new book on human freedom from John Gray, bestselling author of Straw Dogs

In The Soul of the Marionette, John Gray draws together the religious, philosophic and fantastical traditions that question the very idea of human freedom. We flatter ourselves about the nature of free will and yet the most enormous forces - biological, physical, metaphysical - constrain our every action. Many writers and intellectuals have always understood this, but instead of embracing our condition we battle against it, with everyone from world conquerors to modern scientists dreaming of a 'human dominion' almost comically at odds with our true state.

This is a stimulating and enraging meditation on everything from cybernetics to the fairground marionettes of the title.

  • Published: 5 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9780141969015
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 192

About the author

John Gray

John Gray's most recent books are Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals , Al-Qaeda and What It Means To Be Modern  and Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions. He is Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics.

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Praise for The Soul of the Marionette

A generous and energising tumble of ideas...he is inventive and penetrating

Galen Strawson, Financial Times

Like Isaiah Berlin with a thing for sci-fi

Tibor Fischer, The Spectator

We might believe that we are on a voyage towards a future of perfect freedom, but Gray is here to tell us that we are really only going round in circles, repeating ancient heresies, and retelling old myths in modern cant

Stephen Cave, Literary Review

Gray must be one of the best read of contemporary philosophers, trawling insouciantly through high-, middle- and low-brow literature with the sharp-eyed eclecticism of a magpie of genius

John Banville, The Guardian

A brain-twisting meditation on freedom...a brief, elliptical inquiry designed to raise more questions than anyone could answer

Kirkus Reviews

Perhaps the most brilliant of his originally structured "enquiries", brings home, with infectious learning, the many self-deceptions behind our reverence for freedom

Paul Binding, TLS