The Unique & Its Own Project
Long overdue is a revision of the original English translation of both the title and the text of Max Stirner’s masterwork Der Einzige und sein Eigentum. The original English translation by Steven T. Byington was published by Benjamin Tucker in 1907 with (as Tucker readily admitted) an erroneous title, The Ego and Its Own, that has ever after heavily and directly contributed to the extensive and continuing misinterpretation of Stirner’s work. In order to at long last begin to counter the egregious effects of this erroneous title — and the occasional inappropriate references to “the ego” in the text — the title and textual translations are being revised, and will be published with annotations and a new introduction by Jason McQuinn (CAL Press, projected date: December 2015) $19.95 paperback.
The new title, The Unique & Its Own, will preserve the poetic impulse of the original English-language title, while omitting the completely needlessly mystifying reference to a generic concept of “The Ego” in favor of the much more appropriate use of “The Unique,” referring to Stirner’s central — ultimately indefinable and non-conceptual — figure. For Stirner, “The Unique” can only name a person by pointing to her or him, but does not and cannot in any way conceptualize that person except in a manner that is completely empty of determinate conceptual content. Along with Wolfi Landstreicher’s new English translation-in-progress — that is planned to be published under probably the most accurate title translation as The Unique and Its Property — we hope that this revised Byington translation will help turn the historical tide of rampant misinterpretation of Max Stirner — at least regarding the central figure of his text.