Against Everything: Essays
The essays in Against Everything are learned, original, highly entertaining, and, from start to finish, dead serious, reinventing and reinvigorating what intellectuals can be and say and do. Key topics are the tyranny of exercise, the folly of food snobbery, the sexualization of childhood (and everything else), the philosophical meaning of pop music, the rise and fall of the hipster, the uses of reality TV, the impact of protest movements, and the crisis of policing. Four of the selections address, directly and unironically, the meaning of life—how to find a philosophical stance to adopt toward one’s self and the world. Mark Greif manages to revivify the thought and spirit of the greatest of American dissenters, Henry David Thoreau, for our time and historical situation.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY:
The Guardian • The Atlantic • New York Magazine • San Francisco Chronicle • Paris Review • National Post (Canada)
Longlisted for the 2017 PEN Diamonson-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
About the Author
Mark Greif’s scholarly work looks at the connections of literature to intellectual and cultural history, the popular arts, aesthetics and everyday ethics. He taught at the New School and Brown before coming to Stanford.
He is the author of The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933-1973 (Princeton, 2015), which received the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas, and the Susanne M. Glasscock Prize for interdisciplinary humanities scholarship. His book Against Everything: Essays (Pantheon, 2016) was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in Criticism. His current book concerns the history and aesthetics of pornography from the eighteenth century to the internet age.
In 2003, Greif was a founder of the journal n+1, and has been a principal member of the organization since. His books as co-editor and co-author have included The Trouble is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street (n+1/FSG, 2012), Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America (Verso, 2011), and What Was the Hipster?: A Sociological Investigation (n+1/HarperCollins, 2010). His books and articles have been translated into German, Spanish, French, Dutch, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
He has been a Marshall Scholar, and has received fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU.
Greif has written for publications including the London Review of Books, New York Times, Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Le Monde, and his essays have been selected for Best American Essays and the Norton Anthology. He remains interested in the relationships between high scholarship, literary and arts journalism, low culture, and small magazines.