A major American thinker of the 20th century muses on anarchism.
Winner of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Book, Jacket, and Journal Show – Best Scholarly Typography (2002)
"That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." This quote from Henry David Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience is one of thirty quotations from which John Cage created Anarchy, a book-length lecture comprising twenty mesostic poems. Composed with the aid of a computer program to simulate the coin toss of the I Ching, Anarchy draws on the writings of many serious anarchists including Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, and Mario Malatesta, not so much making arguments for anarchism as "brushing information against information," giving the very words new combinations that de-familiarize and re-energize them. Now widely available of the first time, Anarchy marks the culmination of Cage's work as a poet, composer and as a thinker about contemporary society.
"The poems . . . create space for rethinking what anarchy and, more immediately, sovereignty can mean in a fully globalized 21st century . . . Cage's methods, intentions and good will are impeccably rendered on a platform that is at once fiercely inventive and deeply concerned for the collective human freedom within its own governance . . . [this book] brilliantly highlights the political commitments of his work as a whole."~Publishers Weekly
"This is a singularly important addition to Cage's writings . . . [it] is of vital, historical importance."~Stephen McCaffery, author of The Cheat of Words
"Although he often brought into his poetry and other writings his deep, lifelong concern with the world's societies and with ways to change them for the better, the ways in which he did this while composing Anarchy . . . are especially brilliant and aesthetically compelling."~Jackson Mac Low, author of Barnesbook: Four Poems Derived from Sentences by Djuna Barnes