Tuesday, 19 January 2010


It turns out Bakunin's God and the State was originally going to be called The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution. But what a splendid title! Worthy of a Fantasy novel. Or perhaps an experimental proto-Modernist masterpiece:
like most of Bakunin's work, [it] is unfinished and disjointed. ... When Bakunin was criticized on this he said, "My life is a fragment." God and the State is indeed a fragment; the book has paragraphs that drop out and pick up in mid-sentence, footnotes that are four or five paragraphs long, and the book itself stops abruptly in mid-sentence.
I don't remember that from when I read it, although perhaps the English translator tidied it up. I do remember his insistence, quite properly, that Adam and Eve were gorillas; and his excellent Fight-the-Power midrash on the Garden of Eden tale:
Yes, our first ancestors, our Adams and our Eves, were, if not gorillas, very near relatives of gorillas, omnivorous, intelligent and ferocious beasts, endowed in a higher degree than the animals of another species with two precious faculties--the power to think and the desire to rebel.
Maybe it's more like a mythopoeic fantasy novel than I'm letting on ...

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