Delve into danger
KEYNOTE // Anarchy, resentment and an urge to smash the system are spreading. What caused this age of anger?
Pankaj Mishra’s Age of Anger, a bracing ‘history of the present’, went to print in the week that Donald Trump’s election victory seemed to prove his thesis that anarchy, anger and an urge to smash the system were spreading. As modernity reaches beyond the western world, shocks follow in its wake, and when its promised prosperity and equality don’t arrive, anger is the result. Nationalism, extremism and violence are responses to an increasingly unstable and unequal world characterised by envy and ruthless competition. How should we understand this age of anger, and what kind of transformative thinking will help us find our way out of it?
Pankaj Mishra is an author and essayist. His books include From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia, which became the first book by a non-Western writer to win Germany’s prestigious Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding. Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017) is his most recent title. Mishra is a columnist for Bloomberg View, a contributing writer at The New York Times, and also writes literary and political essays for the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The New Yorker, London Review of Books, among other American, British, and Indian publications. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of Britain's Royal Society of Literature, and in 2014, he received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.