Telos Press Publishing is pleased to announce that Carl Schmitt’s Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation is now available for purchase. Order your copy today in our online store.
Translated by Samuel Garrett Zeitlin
Edited and with Introductions by Russell A. Berman and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin
Originally published in 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Land and Sea: A World-Historical Meditation recounts Carl Schmitt’s view of world history “as a history of the battle of sea powers against land powers and of land powers against sea powers.” Schmitt here unfolds his view of world history from the Peloponnesian War to European colonial expansion to the birth pangs of capitalism, while polemically setting Nazi Germany as a continental land power against Britain and the United States as its maritime enemies. In Land and Sea, Schmitt offers his interpretations of the rise of Venice, piracy, “corsair capitalism,” the spatial revolution of European colonial expansion, the rise of the British empire, and his readings of thinkers as diverse as Seneca, Shakespeare, Herman Melville, and Benjamin Disraeli.
This new and authorized edition from Telos Press Publishing, translated by Samuel Garrett Zeitlin and edited by Russell A. Berman and Samuel Garrett Zeitlin, includes extensive textual annotations that compare critical variations between the original 1942 edition of Land and Sea and the subsequent editions published in 1954 and 1981.
“Land and Sea is Carl Schmitt’s ambitious and often beautiful effort to render the geo-political history of humankind as grand fable. Schmitt muses over man’s fate as he transformed from land-bound creature to conqueror of the seas and eventually the skies. The subtext of the work concerns Germany’s precarious position as defender of humanity’s fundamental political essence as it withstands sieges from various trans-territorial forces, especially England, the Soviet Union, the United States and, most chillingly, the Jews. Berman and Zeitlin must be commended for making this astounding work available to English speaking audiences in such an impeccably translated and annotated form for the first time.”
—John P. McCormick, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, and author of Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Liberalism: Against Politics as Technology
“With its fable-like quality, philosophical tone, and deep historical orientation, Land and Sea is one of Schmitt’s most powerful and evocative works. A profound meditation on the forces shaping twentieth-century history, it challenges us to think anew about the possibilities (and risks) of our global future. Yet, as Zeitlin’s meticulous introduction demonstrates so clearly, the origins of Schmitt’s thinking on these themes must be traced to the specific political and military ambitions of the Third Reich. This tension between Schmitt’s grand philosophical history (fluidly translated here) and the often brutal concreteness of its compositional context makes Land and Sea an even more fascinating—if troubling—work.”
—David Bates, Professor and Chair, Department of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
“Land and Sea is one of Carl Schmitt’s most intriguing texts, an important contribution to the literature of global power. It is certain to provoke debate.”
—Ellen Kennedy, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
“Samuel Zeitlin has given us a careful and very readable English translation of one Schmitt’s key texts on the philosophy of history and the foundations of international law. Land and Sea illuminates the theoretical background of Schmitt’s theory of the ‘nomos of the Earth,’ and it is supplemented by a valuable introduction and helpful editorial notes. The volume is required reading for all scholars seriously interested in Schmitt.”
—Lars Vinx, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bilkent University, author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Schmitt, and editor and translator of The Guardian of the Constitution: Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt on the Limits of Constitutional Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
“Schmitt’s ‘Dialogue of Land and Sea’ is an extraordinary text: erudite, bizarre, philosophic, and theatrical. Who but Schmitt would name a character ‘MacFuture’? Who else could revive the dialogue form to interrogate modernity? Who else could conduct a dialogue with Heidegger between the lines of a mid-twentieth-century radio play? Zeitlin has given us a great gift in translating this curious, complex, and very entertaining dialogue.”
—Anne Norton, Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) was one of the most important legal, constitutional, and political thinkers of twentieth-century Germany. His writings on political theology, liberalism, parliamentary democracy, constitutional theory, warfare, and international law have influenced political and legal scholars from across the political spectrum. Telos Press has made a number of Schmitt’s texts available in English translation, including The Nomos of the Earth, Theory of the Partisan, Hamlet or Hecuba, and various essays published through the journal Telos.