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

Born OTD in 1944, American political activist, academic, author & a prominent counterculture activist in the 1960s, Angela Y. Davis. The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America’s most historic political trials, & no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Angela, including contributions from numerous radicals & commentators such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale & Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration & the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive & thorough analysis of the prison system of the United States & the figure embodied in Davis’s arrest and imprisonment-the political prisoner.

Since the book was written, the carceral system in the US has grown from strength to strength, with more of … More

Born OTD in 1925, French philosopher who wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art, Gilles Deleuze. Deleuze was one of the most influential figures in 20th-century philosophy, well known for his works on the philosophy of art & for his master-works, Difference & Repetition and – with Felix Guattari – A Thousand Plateaus & Anti-Oedipus. Cinema I is the first volume of Deleuze’s revolutionary work on the theory of cinema

Drawing on the philosophy of Henri Bergson, Deleuze identified his work as “a logic of the cinema”, setting out to … More

Born OTD in 1921, American social theorist, author, orator, historian, and political philosopher, Murray Bookchin. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought.

In the essays that make up this book, Murray Bookchin calls for a critical social standpoint that transcends both “biocentrism” … More

Born on 9 January 1908, French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist, Simone de Beauvoir. Of all the writing that emerged from the existentialist movement, Simone de Beauvoir’s groundbreaking study of women will probably have the most extensive and enduring impact. It is at once a work of anthropology and sociology, of biology and psychoanalysis, from the pen of a writer and novelist of penetrating imaginative power.

In 1946, Simone de Beauvoir began to outline what she thought would be an autobiographical essay explaining why, when she … More