TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Now Available! A Journal of No Illusions: Telos, Paul Piccone, and the Americanization of Critical Theory

Telos Press Publishing is proud to announce the newest addition to our book list: A Journal of No Illusions: Telos, Paul Piccone, and the Americanization of Critical Theory, edited by Timothy Luke and Ben Agger. Get your copy here.

In 1968, a young SUNY-Buffalo philosophy graduate student named Paul Piccone started a journal called Telos. No one then could have reasonably expected for it to become an intellectual institution. Originally conceived as the self-consciousness of the American New Left, the journal soon ranged more widely as its authors introduced European social theory and philosophy to a largely American audience unaware of these traditions. Piccone forged a “journal of no illusions” that was iconoclastic, skeptical, and yet motivated by the hope that critique and engagement could become constitutive principles for politics and everyday practices. In this book, an array of authors, many of whom participated in the development of Telos, examine the ongoing legacy of the journal, and address the ways in which Telos formed a generation of young intellectuals, who asked for a “critical theory” to understand both the impasses and possibilities for a progressive politics.

Early Praise for A Journal of No Illusions

“The journal Telos was central to the New Left and then to the critical self-appraisal of its limits and illusions. It was vital to the rise of critical theory in the United States, and it was always a controversial part of the mixture of theory, politics, and social analysis. This book is an engaging look at the journal, its brilliant and volatile leader Paul Piccone, and a key period in American intellectual life and political history.”
—Craig Calhoun, University Professor of the Social Sciences, New York University, and President, Social Science Research Council

“Marx said he was ‘not a Marxist,’ and Piccone advised readers to ‘forget Marxism.’ Marx would have loved to publish in Telos. Exposing illusions was his métier, and Telos fostered the kind of rampaging critique that he liked. This excellent volume records and represents the journal’s continuing political engagement and its inspiring diversity.”
—Terrell Carver, Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol

“Paul Piccone was one of the unsung heroes of American social theory. Personally, he was complex, difficult, brilliant, abrasive, charming, and ever faithful. Intellectually, he and the Telos group brought critical theory to America so that it could be read and understood without the false claims that so often accompanying imports of that kind. The book’s title tells it all: A Journal of No Illusions. Many of America’s leading social thinkers have contributed to a volume that will delight and inform all who read it.”
—Charles Lemert, Senior Fellow, Center for Comparative Research, Yale University

“It is impossible to study critical theory in the United States without engaging the towering work of Telos, initially under the direction of the late and renowned Paul Piccone. The story of Telos, one of the most insightful, courageous, and important journals to be published in the latter part of the twentieth century, is a masterful study in the mutual engagement of theory and politics. A Journal of No Illusions not only captures the engaging history of Telos and the brilliantly engaged thought expressed in the work of a diverse number of committed intellectuals, but it also offers readers a masterpiece of theoretical insight and critical analysis.”
—Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair in Communication Studies, English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University

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