Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2015 by newcriticaltheory


International Book Award Finalist – 2015

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2015 by newcriticaltheory


New Back Cover for OUT OF SILENCE (print and Kindle)

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2015 by newcriticaltheory


Kirkus Indie Review of Out of Silence

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2015 by newcriticaltheory

Repair across Generations
Matustik, Martin Beck
NEW CRITICAL THEORY (348 pp.) $24.99 paperback, $9.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0988373211; January 28, 2015


A philosophically charged memoir of a man connecting with a Jewish heritage that he only discovered later in life.

Matustik (Philosophy and Religious Studies/Arizona State Univ.; Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope, 2008, etc.) was born in Slovakia in 1957 and orphaned at the age of 14. Later, he signed a document called Charta 77 in defiance of Communist authoritarianism, fled Czechoslovakia, and ultimately landed in the United States as a respected academic. Still, none of this fully prepared him for news he received in 1997 that completely upturned his sense of identity. While living in Chicago, he received two letters from Australian relatives revealing his Jewish origins—a major piece of family genealogy that his mother had determined to keep from him. He’d never discussed the horrors of the Holocaust while growing up, and never knew that his mother’s family was ravaged by Nazi violence. Fifteen years later, after digging more deeply into his untold history, he discovered the reasons behind his mother’s deliberate silence.

Because he was deprived of a full sense of his past, this memoir is an unusual exercise in “postmemory,” as he attempts to excavate a personal history he never experienced. A well-known professor of philosophy and the author of six academic books, Matustik places his personal quest in the context of world history, dissecting the plight of the Jews and the global conflict against tyranny that animated the 20th century. His ruminations are often deeply scholarly and literary, spanning an impressive breadth of topics from Plato to Pink Floyd. It all results in a protean work that resists easy categorization—a complex amalgam of the personal and historical that he calls his “philosophical-political quest.” The prose can be soaringly poetic, but also dense. However, his attempt to rescue himself from “generational blindness” is both intellectually stirring and emotionally poignant. “Shame is the survivor’s unacknowledged trauma,” he writes. “My mother’s trauma has settled me with her generation’s guilt and my own survivor’s guilt. I have been suffering from her disrepair, even as I survive her traumatized silence.”

An important examination of what it means to discover one’s self, and to reclaim one’s sense of belonging.

Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744

Posted in Uncategorized on January 29, 2015 by newcriticaltheory

MM-book  29544569_CoverProof_4430564

Goodreads book giveaway  

(enter to win by midnight Valentine’s Day 2015)

order at




a book trailer (10 min.)
-interactive historical, geographical, and and image maps
-media gallery of key personalities cited in the book
-enhanced slide show of the book illustrations
-excerpts from the book
-web links for other study and teaching

Out of Silence – educational resources

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2015 by newcriticaltheory


Online resources and prepublication excerpts from Out of Silence

Out of Silence – educational resources
Take a Journey in Images: Three Generations across Five Continents


‘The Banality of Evil,’ and the Nazis’ Early Victims –, September 9, 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2014 by newcriticaltheory

‘The Banality of Evil,’ and the Nazis’ Early Victims –, online September 8 and printed on September 9, 2014,  page A 28

To the Editor:
Re “Book Portrays Genocidal Nazi as Evil, but Not Banal” (Arts pages, Sept. 3):

Hannah Arendt’s notion of “the banality of evil” has been consistently misunderstood as discounting the horrendous nature of Adolf Eichmann’s deeds, and it has become a straw man in arguments for positions with which Ms. Arendt would not disagree.

Her term originated in a letter correspondence with Karl Jaspers, who warned her not to elevate Nazi acts into a hagiography of satanic deeds. Eichmann was not a devil from another planet; he was part of the human race, he was educated, he understood a bit of Kant, and he had agency and intentionality.

This is the nature of the word “banality”: the evil we face in Eichmann and often today is an all-too-human affair. Humans are responsible for their world, not gods and demons.

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Sept. 3, 2014

The writer is a professor of philosophy at Arizona State University on sabbatical in Thailand. He is completing a post-Holocaust intellectual memoir, “Out of Silence: Repair across Generations.”


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