In Left in the Past, Alastair Bonnett re–assesses the place of nostalgia within radical politics and, in doing so, provides a new introduction to the history and politics of the left.
Left in the Past argues that nostalgia has been an important, but repressed, aspect of the socialist imagination. The book begins by showing the centrality and repression of nostalgia in both 19th–century radicalism and anti–colonial radicalism. This is followed by an examination of the consequences of this inheritance amongst revolutionary intellectuals in the twentieth century. Bonnett also shows that, today, in our “post–socialist era”, the relationship between radicalism and a sense of loss, and the ambivalent position of socialism in and against modernity, can be viewed with greater clarity.
Bonnett’s unique approach in how to understand the left in an age of post–socialism makes Left in the Past a provocative but necessary resource for anyone interested in the history and politics of the left and radicalism.