Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Letters to a Young Contrarian

Synopsis

Inspiring a future generation of radicals, gadflies, mavericks, and dissidents, Hitchens presents a completely individual meditation on what it means to think, live, and be to the contrary.

Excerpt

The ensuing pages represent my tentative acceptance of a challenge that was made to me in the early months of the year 2000. Could I offer any advice to the young and the restless; any counsel that would help them avoid disillusionment? Among my students at the New School in New York, and in the bars and cafes of the other campuses where I spoke, there were many who retained the unfashionable hope of changing the world for the better and (which is not quite the same thing) of living a life that would be, as far as possible, self-determined. This conversation had taken many forms over the years, until I began to feel the weight of every millisecond that marked me as a grizzled soixante-huitard, or survivor of the last intelligible era of revolutionary upheaval, the one that partly ended and partly culminated in les evenements de quatre-vingt neuf. Then came the proposal to state and discuss the matter in epistolary form; to be specific, the form suggested by Rainer Maria Rilke in his Letters to a Young Poet. My immediate reaction was to recall what Byron said in his poem of reproach to the servile Greeks:

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