The Protocols of the Elders of Sodom

Published by Verso, 2009

Provocative and witty essays on the giants of world literature

Written over the last four decades, these provocative essays and diary entries explore the links between literature, history and politics. Training a critical, imaginative and occasionally a satirical eye on the works of varied writers—including Cervantes, Tolstoy, Proust, Joyce, Musil, Roth, Powell, Platonov, Solzhenitsyn, Grossman, Munif, Goytisolo and Rushdie—Ali discusses common themes as well as polarities, first impressions and re-readings, always seeking to contextualize the text in the political and historical milieu of its creation. Inviting the reader to share in the frustrations and pleasures of world literature and showcasing Ali’s range and polemical verve, this collection will be sure to attract critical attention and a wide readership.

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Read an extract here

Reviews: The Independent, Scotland on Sunday, The Socialist Review

From the archive

  • ‘Try and disarm us, if you can’

    April 15, 1999

    ‘Try and disarm us, if you can’ by Tariq Ali for The London Review of Books, April 15, 1999

    Tariq Ali finds old friends and new enemies in Lahore

    Islamabad remains the official capital, but these days real power in Pakistan is exercised from the Punjabi capital of Lahore. This city, dry, warm and abundant, where I spent the first 20 years of my life and which I still love, is always changing, usually for the worse. The old Mall at its lower end, near Kim’s Gun, was once the haunt of bohemians of every sort. Poets, artists, left-wing intellectuals, film directors could be seen at their tables in the Coffee House, cursing the dictator of the day or discussing the merits of blank verse as they dipped their samosas in a mint-chilli compote and sipped tea throughout  …

  • Tariq Ali: In Ankara

    June 26, 2013

    How it changes. When I was in Istanbul last April the mood was sombre. Even the most ebullient of friends were downcast. The latent hostility to the regime was always present, but the AKP’s hegemony, I was told many times, went deep. Erdo?an was a reptile, cynical but clever and not averse to quoting the odd verse from Nâz?m Hikmet, the much-loved communist poet imprisoned by Atatürk. The poet had escaped in a boat and been rescued by a Soviet tanker. ‘Can you prove you’re Hikmet,’ the captain asked him. He laughed and pointed to a poster in the captain’s cabin which had his photograph on it. He died in Moscow in 1963. His remains are still in exile.

    Talk now was of food (the exquisite wafer-thin pizzas from the Syrian border) or the delights of children produced in middle  …

  • The Oil Wars and World Politics

    February 23, 2011

    This Spring, Union College’s Minvera Series will address the theme “Oil: A World in Short Supply.” Alongside speakers such as Mia Birk (“Pedaling toward a Healthier Planet”), Robin Blackburn (“Sweet Power: Global Powers and the Premium Commodity from Sugar to Oil”), Michael Klare (“The Perils of Extreme Oil: Extractive Strategies in the Twilight Era of Petroleum”) and Rick Ott (“Exxon Valdez to Gulf Disaster: Changing the Endgame”), Tariq Ali will present a lecture entitled, “The Oil Wars and World Politics.”

    May 16, 2011 7.00pm – 9.00pm Union College Nott Memorial 807 Union Street Schenectady, NY 12308 United States