Cold World

Cold World

The aesthetics of dejection and the politics of militant dysphoria

A scintillating critical survey of the "cold worlds" of Romantic poetry, black metal, teenage angst and terrorism.


To live well in the world one must be able to enjoy it: to love, Freud says, and work. Dejection is the state of being in which such enjoyment is no longer possible. There is an aesthetic dimension to dejection, in which the world appears in a new light. In this book, the dark serenity of dejection is examined through a study of the poetry of Hopkins and Coleridge, and the music of "depressive" black metal artists such as Burzum and Xasthur.

The author then develops a theory of "militant dysphoria" via an analysis of the writings of the Red Army Fraction’s activist-theoretician, Ulrike Meinhof. The book argues that the "cold world" of dejection is one in which new creative and political possibilities, as well as dangers, can arise. It is not enough to live well in the world: one must also be able to affirm that another world is possible.


Dominic Fox discusses different types of rebellion in his scholarly Cold World: The Aesthetics of Rejection and the Politics of Militant Dysphoria (out from the fantastic Zer0 Books).  

~ Devin King,

We have been told by the living that the idea of a vital world is that of comfort and warmth. Dominic Fox assures us that this is not the case. With an unparalleled militant efficiency, Cold World blackens the lines between poetics and politics, music and negative resistance. It is a haunting sermon from the world of the dead exhorting the living to revolt in the name of a life whose vitality has been disenchanted by coldness and whose sacredness has been profaned by nigredo. ~ Reza Negarestani, Author of Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials

Dominic Fox's timely and important Cold World pinpoints the fundamental issue underlying contemporary debate about the possibility of revolutionary politics in a culture suffused by paralysing despondency. Drawing on a remarkable array of sources from Coleridge and Gerard Manley Hopkins to Xasthur and Ulrike Meinhof, Fox explores the necessary yet apparently contradictory link between refusal and revolution. While refusal without revolution perpetuates the very condition it would negate, revolution without refusal quickly lapses into phantasmatic utopianism. The quandaries of this particular dialectic have never been as lucidly charted as they are here. ~ Ray Brassier, Author of Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction

Dominic Fox
Dominic Fox Dominic Fox is a writer, poet and musician working in London as a software engineer. Widely active in the online cultural theory scene, he i...

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