The CLR James Journal

Volume 29, Issue 1/2, Fall 2023

Oscar Guardiola-RiveraOrcid-ID, Juan Felipe García
Pages 13-60

Poetic Traditions of Revolt in the Caribbean
René Ménil’s Theory of the Public

How to reciprocate a precious gift? In this case the gift was given to us twice. First, in the shape of Paget Henry’s pioneering reinvention of René Ménil’s “Aesthetic Marxism.” Through it, second, we’re led to rediscover the fantastic world of Ménil’s hitherto ignored but crucial contribution to contemporary philosophy: his systematization of the poetics of revolt. Our debt with Ménil and Henry is unpayable. Our humble response in this essay is to offer readers a map to the treasure that is Ménil’s thought. We aim to offer a path across and beyond the sedimentation and pacifying effects of given frames of judgment and the imagination in today’s post-classical public sphere. We call it “fantastic critique,” largely inspired by our wider reading of Ménil’s work and specifically his original concept of the “velocity of the spirit.” It renews the Hegelo-Marxian revolutionary formula. Here. Keep it with you. It’s a precious gift.