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Books for changing the world
Bread and Beauty
The Cultural Politics of José Carlos Mariátegui

Influenced by anarchism and especially by anarcho-syndicalist Georges Sorel, the political praxis of Peruvian activist and scholar José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930) deviated from the policies mandated by the Comintern. Mariátegui saw only new subjectivities as capable of making a revolution that would not recreate bourgeois or fascist structures. For Mariátegui, a new society required a new culture. He therefore not only founded the Peruvian Socialist Party, but also created Amauta, a magazine that brought together the writings of the political and cultural avant-gardes. This landmark book both examines Mariátegui’s views on the political valence of cultural habits and products and assesses the cultural underpinnings of the political proposals found in his writings and actions.

  • "This is a fascinating new book on Latin America’s most significant intellectual of the left: Jose Carlos Mariátegui. Juan De Castro gives us an incisive analysis of Mariátegui's deeply original understanding of cosmopolitanism, his idea of socialism and his anti-racist interpretations of Peru, Latin America and the world's literature and politics. This book is a must read!"

    –Federico Finchelstein, author A Brief HIstory of Fascist Lies

    "Bread and Beauty: The Cultural Politics of José Carlos Mariátegui
    is an intellectual tour de force and an outstanding source for studying and understanding the Peruvian socialist’s thought, politics, and aesthetics. De Castro’s encyclopedic knowledge of Mariateguist scholarship and its context make for a kaleidoscopic rendering of the person and his work and a profound appreciation for the nature and depth of his thought."

    Harry Vanden, Latin American Perspectives

    "It is thus indisputable that De Castro has provided us with an excellent introduction to the works of José Carlos Mariátegui, one long overdue and much needed. While he was never fully forgotten in Latin America, as the chapter on his afterlife shows in great detail, it is high time to introduce him into the discourses outside the Spanish speaking Americas. Bread and Beauty provides us with insight into the numerous debates that preceded World War Two, that shaped the project of Latin American socialism of the second half of the twentieth century and, most importantly, breaks with the myth of Mariátegui’s project as a theory-poor, dreamy or romantic endeavor. By doing so, De Castro breaks with the myth (at least subconsciously held by many scholars) of Latin America as a periphery without theory. Especially for a left trying to get a grip on the problems of globalization and how they articulate themselves through localities, the (re)discovery of the works of Mariátegui is inevitable and De Castro’s book is a great place to start."

    Till Hahn, Marx and Philosophy: Review of Books

    "The book has much to tell us about the cultural politics of Mariátegui but also about the state of research on Mariátegui.As such it should be read with care by those who are new to Mariátegui and who will want to use this book to begin to explore his political and cultural thought and praxis, as well as those who are familiar with Mariátegui and who will want to engage with De Castro’s welcome and important contribution"

    —Paulo Drinot, Transmodernity: A Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World