Egoism: The First Two Volumes 1890-1892
A review by Chip Smith
Despite the marginal influence of Max Stirner, the intellectual and cultural milieu of late 19th century egoism has received little scholarly attention to date. This is a shame because the early egoists exposited a unique and radical vision of human autonomy — peppered with anarchist, elitist, and libertinist, and proto-surrealist currents — that broadly anticipated the development of just about every libertarian and liberationist movement that would follow as the century turned. The American transcendentalists seem like pantywaists by comparison.
This facsimile anthology collecting the first two volumes of what was once (arguably) the foremost repository of egoist theory and praxis is thus a welcome — and unexpected! — gift, not only to scholars who wish avoid a long day in front of the microfilm reel, but to anyone who is curious about forgotten strands of intellectual history.