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Book review: The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry Into Human Freedom by John Gray

(Allen Lane, £17.99)marionette

Since leaving a university teaching post almost a decade ago, John Gray has systematically purged his writing of any lingering traces of the postures and habits of academic political theory. Like his previous book, The Silence of Animals, The Soul of the Marionette is less an argument than a kind of commonplace book in which Gray assembles insights drawn from a wide range of often obscure or (in his view, at least) under-appreciated writers and thinkers.

Prominent among these is the German Romantic writer Heinrich von Kleist, whose essay “On…

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