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The Illegal Age by Ellen Hinsey

Ellen Hinsey’s new book-length sequence, The Illegal Age, is a powerful investigation into the twentieth-century’s dark legacy of totalitarianism and the rise of political illegality.

It explores the enduring potential for human beings to set neighbour against neighbour and commit final acts of violence. A book of lyrical reflection and prophesy, The Illegal Age chronicles the arrival of a new, disquieting reality unfolding in our midst.

As Marilyn Hacker has written, “In dialogue with Celan, Szymborska, Milosz… this is a daring text – for its political acuity, and for its demonstration of the power in poetry to recount, remember, move the heart while opening the mind.”

Written in parallel with her first-hand research into the rise of authoritarianism carried out over the last decade, Hinsey’s volume warns that – rather than an “Age of Anxiety” – we may indeed be facing the start of the “Illegal Age”.

Ellen Hinsey was born in 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts. For the last two decades she has lived in Europe. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tufts University and a graduate degree from Université de Paris VII. She has taught at the French graduate school the Ecole Polytechnique and currently teaches at Skidmore College s Paris program. She is the international correspondent for The New England Review.

Hinsey’s work is concerned with history, ethics and democracy. Her first-hand accounts and analyses of the impact of the 2012 Russian presidential elections, the 2010 Polish presidential plane crash, Hungarian politics, Václav Havel’s ethical legacy and post-1989 German reconstruction have been published in The New England Review. A selection of these essays are included in her book <ik>Mastering the Past: Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and the Rise of Illiberalism (Telos Press, 2017). Her current work addresses global authoritarianism.

Hinsey’s first book, Cities of Memory, draws on her experiences at the Berlin Wall on the weekend of November 9, 1989, as well as in Prague during the Velvet Revolution. The book received the Yale Series Award and was published by Yale University Press in 1996. Her second book, The White Fire of Time (Wesleyan University Press, 2002 / Bloodaxe Books, 2003), written after a family tragedy, is an exploration of ethics and renewal.

Later, you will realize that compromise is the wood that burns
Most brightly in the hour before regret.
But by then, all the doors will have been marked in yellow chalk.
Still, let us not pass each other this final time, without recognition,
Without looking each other in the eye.
Remember: in the ink-light of testimony, a record may still be kept.

Ellen Hinsey (fragment)

The Illegal Age
by Ellen Hinsey (Author)
PBS Autumn Choice 2018
Publisher: Arc Publicationas
July 2018
120 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 191146938X
ISBN-13: 978-1911469384
Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.2 x 21 cm
Hardcover £13.99
Paperback £10.99

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