Cover of The Other Adam Smith by Mike Hill and Warren Montag
The Other Adam Smith
Mike Hill and Warren Montag

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2014
416 pages.
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Cloth ISBN: 9780804791946
Paper ISBN: 9780804792943

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The Other Adam Smith represents the next wave of critical thinking about the still under-examined work of this paradigmatic Enlightenment thinker. Not simply another book about Adam Smith, it allows and even necessitates his inclusion in the realm of theory in the broadest sense. Moving beyond his usual economic and moral philosophical texts, Mike Hill and Warren Montag take seriously Smith's entire corpus, his writing on knowledge, affect, sociability and government, and political economy, as constituting a comprehensive—though highly contestable—system of thought. We meet not just Smith the economist, but Smith the philosopher, Smith the literary critic, Smith the historian, and Smith the anthropologist. Placed in relation to key thinkers such as Hume, Lord Kames, Fielding, Hayek, Von Mises, and Agamben, this other Adam Smith, far from being localized in the history of eighteenth-century economic thought or ideas, stands at the center of the most vibrant and contentious debates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

About the authors

Mike Hill is Associate Professor of English at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Warren Montag is Professor of English at Occidental College.

"This challenging, cogent study is the first serious overview of the career of Adam Smith (1723–90) . . . The authors' literary approach is refreshing: it is grounded in philosophy, history, and economics, disciplines that provide them with fascinating theoretical tools for reading Smith from a variety of perspectives."

—D.A. Robinson, CHOICE

"Mike Hill and Warren Montag's revelatory The Other Adam Smith reveals just how important Smith is to [the] debates on sovereignty and life . . . Hill and Montag's brilliant book challenges the reader to think about Adam Smith in new ways and for new purposes."

—Daniel O'Quinn, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"Mike Hill and Warren Montag argue, convincingly to my mind, that Adam Smith was a major thinker across a vast range of fields. In turn, they suggest not just the other Adam Smith but multiple others . . . Hill and Montag move us beyond interesting but limited binary debates to show that the, apparently, marginal focus on cruelty in Smith's work, has helped justify a political-economy of neo-liberal necro-economics . . . [A] rewarding book."

—Derek Wall, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

"This outstanding interdisciplinary achievement spans English literature, social theory, history of philosophy, history of the book, social theory, and political history in what is a socially important and largely original re-evaluation of the argument for a market society and Liberal political economy more generally."

—Eric Schliesser, Ghent University

"Hill and Montag's premise is that Adam Smith is a classic thinker in the best sense: No amount of rumination about his writings can exhaust their relevance. As their book demonstrates, no matter what happens in our capitalist world, we can be edified by returning to Smith's texts. Like Smith's writings, this excellent monograph will endure."

—Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawaii, Manoa

"Dispensing with ideological and impartial interpretations, this book offers the first reading of Adam Smith's entire corpus. Reconstructing his work from every aspect and positioning it within the economic, philosophical, and anthropological debates of his time, it offers a radical interrogation of Smith in light of today's most pressing questions and theoretical discussions."

—Roberto Esposito, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

"This book is a welcome addition to Smith scholarship. It is a highly interdisciplinary and contextualized reading of Smith's works, contexts, and legacy."

—Brian Glenney, Scottish Philosophy