Born OTD in 1872, British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, & Nobel laureate, Bertrand Russell. “Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying ‘Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.’ Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told & acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, & that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached.”

Intolerance and bigotry lie at the heart of all human suffering. So claims Bertrand Russell at the outset of In … More

Born OTD in 1930, French psychotherapist, philosopher, semiologist, and activist, Félix Guattari. He founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy, and is best known for his intellectual collaborations with Gilles Deleuze, most notably Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus, the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

An early work that lays the foundation for establishing a “polemical” dimension to psychoanalysis. We certainly have the unconscious that … More

Born OTD in 1759, English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights, Mary Wollstonecraft. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships, received more attention than her writing. Today Wollstonecraft is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers, and feminists often cite both her life and work as important influences.

Wollstonecraft responds to those educational and political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe women should receive a … More

Slavoj Zizek, the maverick philosopher, author of over 30 books, acclaimed as the “Elvis of cultural theory,” and today’s most controversial public intellectual. His work traverses the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, theology, history and political theory, taking in film, popular culture, literature and jokes–all to provide acute analyses of the complexities of contemporary ideology as well as a serious and sophisticated philosophy. His recent films The Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema and Zizek! reveal a theorist at the peak of his powers and a skilled communicator.

Now Verso is making his classic titles, each of which stand as a core of his ever-expanding life’s work, available … More

Herbert Read was a Brisitsh art historian, poet, literary critic and philosopher, best known for numerous books on art, which included influential volumes on the role of art in education. Read was co-founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. As well as being a prominent English anarchist, he was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism.

In his philosophical outlook, Read was close to the European idealist traditions represented by Friedrich Schelling, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and … More

Born OTD in 1900, German-born American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist, Erich Fromm. Fromm sees right to the heart of our contradictory needs for community and for freedom like no other writer before or since. In Fear of Freedom, Fromm warns that the price of community is indeed high, and it is the individual who pays. Fascism and authoritarianism may seem like receding shadows for some, but are cruel realities for many.

“Escape from Freedom attempts to show, modern man still is anxious and tempted to surrender his freedom to dictators of … More

Born OTD in 1949, Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek. Enjoy Your Symptom! commands the title Slavoj Žižek’s classic work of cultural criticism. And the title is just the first of the many startling asides, observations and insights that fill this guide to Hollywood on the Lacanian psychoanalyst’s couch.

Zizek introduces the ideas of Jacques Lacan through the medium of American film, taking his examples from over 100 years … More

Born OTD in 1871, Polish Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist, Rosa Luxemburg. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity and the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive and creative life—her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, and her love of science, nature and art.

Always opposed to the First World War, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of … More

First published OTD in 1848, The Communist Manifesto. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth (2018), at a time of deep mistrust in The Establishment, The Communist Manifesto is both a timely reminder of the politics of hope and a thought-provoking guide to the most influential work of political theory ever published.

Much of what Marx and Engels’ proposed – a state education system, a progressive income tax, the nationalisation of banks … More

Born OTD in 1809, English naturalist, geologist & biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution, Charles Darwin. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s & his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, … More