On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (Paperback)
September 2021 Indie Next List
“I have long anticipated Maggie Nelson’s newest work and On Freedom does not disappoint. Who doesn’t want to know her thoughts on art, sex, drugs, and climate?”
— Dartricia Rollins, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA
Now in paperback, an enduring work of criticism from one of the most important writers of our time.
So often deployed as a jingoistic, even menacing rallying cry, or limited by a focus on passing moments of liberation, the rhetoric of freedom both rouses and repels. Does it remain key to autonomy, justice, and well-being, or is freedom’s long star turn coming to a close? Does a continued obsession with it enliven and emancipate, or reflect a deepening nihilism (or both)? On Freedom examines such questions by tracing the concept’s complexities in four realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate.
Drawing on a vast range of material, Maggie Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing “practices of freedom” by which we negotiate our interrelation with others, with all the care and constraint that entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.
As with all of Nelson’s work, how she thinks—and how that thinking expresses itself in style—is crucial to the book’s achievement. Through her generosity, rigor, and willingness to critically engage reigning pieties, Nelson shows that new forms of thinking and talking are available to us, ones that welcome a chorus of voices, and recommit us to our entanglement, even at its most difficult. On Freedom is an ambitious, essential book that reinvigorates the art of criticism.
About the Author
Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, and award-winning author of 'The Argonauts', 'Bluets', 'The Art of Cruelty', 'Jane: A Murder' and 'The Red Parts'. She lives in Los Angeles, California.