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

From the archive

  • ‘The Anti-Imperialist Left Confronted with Islam’

    March 1, 2006

    ‘The Anti-Imperialist Left Confronted with Islam’, an interview with Tariq Ali by Alex De Jong and Paul Mepschen for Grenzeloos, posted at International Viewpoint, March 2006

    Grenzeloos: It is of course the assassination of the film-maker Theo van Gogh and the threats made against the liberal member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali which have particularly drawn attention to Islam in the Netherlands. Like her, you are an unbeliever who comes from the Muslim world. Have you already felt threatened?

    Tariq Ali: No, never. I travel a lot both in the Muslim world and in the rest of the world, but I have never yet felt threatened. Why is that? It is no doubt because people who don’t agree with me about religion know that I am an enemy of imperialism. I unceasingly criticize imperialism and all its works, more  …

  • ‘The Flight into the Abyss’ – The Independent reviews The Duel

    November 5, 2008

    The Duel reviewed by Salil Tripathi in The Independent, November 5, 2008.

    Too many reasons to be cheerless about Pakistan’s near future.

    Once again, Pakistan is in crisis, with Waziristan the newest “most dangerous place” in the world. Islamabad can’t control the escalating conflict, and the government is again run by an unpopular, incompetent and nepotistic civilian administration.

    And again, Pakistan is going hat in hand to the IMF, Saudi Arabia and China to face off oil prices, food inflation, dwindling foreign exchange and declining terms of trade.

    Tariq Ali has been warning of Pakistan’s collapse for four decades. For those sins, his books have often been banned there, and “generals, corrupt politicians and bearded lunatics” dislike him in equal measure. In The Duel, Ali provides a gossip-filled, witty and polemical history, revealing, with perspicacity and  …

  • Tariq Ali takes on “Any Questions?” on BBC Radio 4

    November 5, 2010

    Tariq Ali joined Jonathan Dimbleby in Leeds as a panellist on BBC Radio 4‘s “Any Questions?” show, with journalist Peter Hitchens, Sayeeda Warsi, Chairman of the Conservative Party and Jack Dromey MP. The panel answered topical questions including those on housing and civil liberties.

    Visit the BBC Radio 4 website to listen to “Any Questions?” in full.