Read The New Old World Online

Authors: Perry Anderson

The New Old World



Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism

Lineages of the Absolutist State

Considerations on Western Marxism

Arguments within English Marxism

In the Tracks of Historical Materialism

A Zone of Engagement

English Questions

The Origins of Postmodernity











This paperback edition published by Verso 2011
First published by Verso 2009
© Perry Anderson 2009
All rights reserved

The moral rights of the author have been asserted

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

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Verso is the imprint of New Left Books

Ebook ISBN-13: 978-1-84467-806-8

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress

Typeset by Hewer Text UK Ltd, Edinburgh
Printed in Sweden by ScandBook AB

For Alan Milward







I     The Union

1     Origins

2     Outcomes

3     Theories

II    The Core

4     France

5     Germany

6     Italy

III   The Eastern Question

7     Cyprus

8     Turkey

IV   Conclusion

9     Antecedents

10   Prognoses







The first versions of the following essays were published in the
London Review of Books
: ‘Origins', 4 January and 26 January 1996; ‘Outcomes', 20 September 2007; ‘France (I)', 2 September and 23 September 2004; ‘Germany (I)', 7 January 1999; ‘Italy (I)', 21 March 2002; ‘Italy (II)', 26 February and 12 March 2009; ‘Cyprus', 24 April 2008; ‘Turkey', 11 September and 25 September 2008. ‘Germany' (II) was published in
New Left Review
No. 57, May–June 2009. An earlier version of ‘Theories' was given as a Max Weber Lecture at the European University Institute in 2007.

I owe many debts in the writing of this book. I would like to thank, for their criticism or advice, my editors at the
, Mary-Kay Wilmers and Susan Watkins; and my friends Sebastian Budgen, Carlo Ginzburg, Serge Halimi, Ça
lar Keyder, Peter Loizos, Franco Moretti, Gabriel Piterberg, Nicholas Spice, Alain Supiot, Cihan Tu
al; and in particular Zeynep Turkyilmaz, without whom I could not have written adequately on Turkey.

Unable, by reason of circumstance, to contribute to a volume in honour of Alan Milward, I have dedicated this book to him, though it is so unlike his work. It was his writing, of which I express my admiration in these pages, that first made me want to say something about Europe.






Europe, as it has become more integrated, has also become more difficult to write about. The Union that now stretches from Limerick to Nicosia has given the continent an encompassing institutional framework of famous complexity, over-arching the nations that compose it, that sets this part of the world off from any other. This structure is so novel, and in many respects so imposing, that the term ‘Europe', as currently used, now often refers simply to the EU, as if the two were interchangeable. But, of course, they are not. The difference has less to do with the scattered pockets of the continent that have yet to join the Union than with the intractable sovereignty and diversity of the nation-states that have done so. The tension between the two planes of Europe, national and supranational, creates a peculiar analytic dilemma for any attempt to reconstruct the recent history of the region. The reason can be put like this. However unprecedented it may be historically, the EU is unquestionably a polity, with more or less uniform effects throughout its jurisdiction. Yet in the life of the states that belong to it, politics—at an incomparably higher level of intensity—continues to be overwhelmingly internal. To hold both levels steady within a single focus is a task that has so far defied all comers. Europe, in that sense, seems an impossible object. It is no surprise that the literature on it tends to divide into three disconnected kinds: specialized studies of the complex of institutions that comprise the EU; broad-brush histories or sociologies of the continent since the Second World War, in which the Union features at best sporadically, if at all; and—still much the largest output—national monographs of one kind or another.

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