When capitalism is clearly catastrophically out of control and its excesses cannot be sustained socially or ecologically, the ideas of Herbert Marcuse become as relevant as they were in the 1960s. This is the first English introduction to Marcuse to be published for decades, and deals specifically with his aesthetic theories and their relation to a critical theory of society. Although Marcuse is best known as a critic of consumer society, epitomised in the classic One-Dimensional Man, Malcolm Miles provides an insight into how Marcuse's aesthetic theories evolved within his broader attitudes, from his anxiety at the rise of fascism in the 1930s through heady optimism of the 1960s, to acceptance in the 1970s that radical art becomes an invaluable progressive force when political change has become deadlocked. Marcuse's aesthetics of liberation, in which art assumes a primary role in interrupting the operation of capitalism, made him a key figure for the student movement in the 1960s. As diverse forms of resistance rise once more, a new generation of students, scholars and activists will find Marcuse’s radical theory essential to their struggle.
An Essay on Liberation is a 1969 book by the Frankfurt School philosopher Herbert Marcuse.
Marcuse argues that advanced industrial society has rendered the traditional conception of human freedom obsolete, and outlines new possibilities for contemporary human liberation.
Brian Easlea writes that Marcuse, having in the past been attacked by Marxists for his "quite unambiguous indictment of science and perhaps feeling that he had directed too much attention away from the rulers of advanced industrial society", apparently "reversed direction" in An Essay on Liberation by endorsing science and technology as "great vehicles of liberation".
- ^Easlea, Brian (1981). Science and Sexual Oppression: Patriarchy's Confrontation with Woman and Nature. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. p. 25. ISBN 0 297 77894 3.