Antonio Negri: The Savage Anomaly

Translation by Michael Hardt, Univesity of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1991 Originally published as L'Anomalia selvaggia. Saggio su potere e potenza in Baruch Spinoza (1981)

* 1933, Padua, Italy

Charge: Intellectual force behind terrorism
Prison: Rebibbia Prison, Rome (Map)

Antonio Negri writes in the preface:
"This work was written in prison. And it was also conceived, for the most part, in prison. Certainly, I have always known Spinoza well. Since I was in school, I have loved the Ethics (and here I would like to fondly remember my teacher of those years). I continued to work on it, never loosing touch, but a full study required too much time. Once in prison I started from the beginning: reading and making notes, tormenting my colleagues to send me books. I thank them all with all my heart. I was convinced that in prisoner there would be time. But that was an illusion, simply an illusion. Prison with its daily rhythm, with the transfers and the defense, does not leave any time; prison dissolves time: This is the principal form of punishment in a capitalist society. So this, like all my other works was drafted by the light of midnight oil, in stolen moments stripped away from the daily routine. The routine in prison is awful and certainly less pleasant than that in the university, [...] ... I do not believe that prison has given a different quality, either better or worse to the product. I do not plead for mercy from the critics. I would like, rather, to be able to think that the solitude of this damned cell has proved as prolific as the Spinozian solitude of the optical laboratory.

From the prisons of Rovigo, Rebbiba, Fossombrone, Palmi, and Trani: April 7, 1979, to April 7, 1980."

Other prison writings by the author:

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