321pp., paperback, Durham, 2018
"Fred Moten's panpipe critical practice is nowhere more luxuriantly available than in Stolen Life. Diagnostic, ministerial, rhapsodic, it pulls out all stops to chase the farthest, fullest reaches of thought and language, criticality's gambit. Moten returns the essay to its etymon, a radical trial, a radical attempt, what John Coltrane called pursuance, in flight for and toward something, which is as much what fugitivity (a prized word and concept between these covers) is as getting away, an unremitting search prone to unexpected turns at any point. Study is a word of choice in Moten's work and he does indeed school us, take us to school. We've been tardy at times, we learn, and we've even, on occasion, played hooky. No matter. He pulls right up outside our door, driving the bus." Nathaniel Mackey, author of Late Arcade
"Our friend Fred Moten, the prodigious philosopher, poet, collaborator, conspirator, critic, and fearless planner, extends to us a riveting, beautiful, and turbulent collection of essays. A massive and mobile series of meditations on the intramural and the undercommons, Stolen Life cuts a fugitive path toward the place where blackness and black study collude and collide with one another, offering us the blueprints to better hear the poetry of our ontology, and the ontology of our poetry. As precious contraband for this scholarly moment of emergency, this field-altering masterpiece is set to be played again and again." Daphne A. Brooks, author of Bodies in Dissent: spectacular performances of race and freedom, 1850–1910
"Taken as a trilogy, consent not to be a single being is a monumental accomplishment: a brilliant theoretical intervention that might be best described as a powerful case for blackness as a category of analysis." Brent Hayes Edwards, author of Epistrophies: jazz and the literary imagination
Fred Moten is Professor of Performance Studies at New York University and the author of Black and Blur, The Universal Machine and In the Break: the aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition.