The thinking of the late Louis Althusser, a Marxist who managed to offend both traditional and innovative Marxists in more or less equal measure, vanished from the mainstream of left-wing philosophy in the wake of a domestic tragedy which could hardly be expected to have left Althusser’s legacy untouched: as many will recall, he murdered his wife, Hélène, in, he maintained, his sleep. Already we have here a crisis of veracity–to believe or not to believe Althusser’s account. His disturbed mental state, leading to lengthy hospitalization after Hélène’s death, was hardly surprising; besides which, Althusser and his wife had long been a mingled vortex of bi-polar symptoms, both manic and depressive. My talk, however, is not intended to re-litigate Althusser’s claims to innocence, but rather to consider the issue of credibility itself–now that Althusser’s singular path as a Marxist philosopher has begun once more to be legible on the Marxist map–in Althusserian terms, which I trust will again offend Marxists both traditional and innovative.
Carey Harrison was born in London during the Blitz, the Luftwaffe’s bombing onslaught, and as soon as the war ended he was taken to America, where he has lived, on and off, for the past 74 years. The off periods have coincided with his British education, at Harrow School and Cambridge, and a teaching post at Essex University. He has subsequently taught Comparative Literature at Cornell, at the University of California in San Diego, at the University of Texas in Austin, at the Florida Institute of Technology, and for the past 20 years at the City University of New York. He is the author of 16 novels and over 200 plays and scripts for TV, theatre, radio, and film. His work has been shown in 37 countries, and translated into 13 languages. His novels won him a Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in 2016/17.