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

  • Decay and Ruin in Mrs. Thatcher’s England

    April 15, 2013

    This interview with Tariq Ali was conducted by Die Presse in Vienna and appears in German in the paper’s Sunday edition.

    What is Mrs Thatcher’s legacy?

    Her legacy is clearly visible in the state of Britain today. It is essentially a story of decay and ruin: A small, post-imperial vassal state dependent on nostalgia and, more importantly, the United States to keep itself afloat. On the economy the Thatcherite model (astonishingly, still being praised by blind politicians in denial) was effectively the deindustrialization of the country, the purchase of working-class votes by squandering the monies that accrued from North sea oil and laying the foundations for a financialised economic model that exploded with the Wall Street crash of 2008. We live in a world where it is convenient to personalize politics. Thatcher obviously pushed through the measures required by  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • The Leopard and the Fox – Tariq Ali and the BBC

    August 1, 2008

    ‘The Leopard and the Fox – Tariq Ali and the BBC’, an interview with Tariq Ali for Three Monkeys Online, August 2008

    What do you think of ‘faction’ as a genre? In the case of The Leopard and the Fox it works well as an ‘unofficial’ history lesson. In the hands of a playwright with less integrity, though, the genre has the potential to be a highly effective propaganda tool—imagine for a moment a faction that depicts as real Tony Blair and George W.Bush uncovering a heinous plot by Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

    It depends. Sometimes it can work very well especially if it’s highlighting materials that have been hidden from history. Its use as a propaganda tool is automatically circumscribed. It Never really works. In the hypothetical case you cite it would have  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘Toward A New Radical Politics’

    August 8, 2006

    ‘Toward A News Radical Politics’, an interview with Tariq Ali by Paige Austin for Mother Jones, August 8, 2006

    Mother Jones: In the letter that you and several other writers published on July 19, you said the “liquidation of the Palestinian nation” is proceeding more rapidly these days. How long have you felt that the possibility of Palestinian statehood is gone?

    Tariq Ali: I have felt that for some years, even before these latest Israeli actions. Once it became clear to the Palestinians that the Oslo accords were a farce and that no Israeli government was prepared to implement even the limited concessions they had promised in them, then it was only a matter of time. My view has always been that either the Palestinians get a fair and just state or you have a single-state solution—there is  …