"It's this spirit of the collective effort of study and exchange and resonance, the effort to keep the channels open and keep listening, that has made Moten (or, maybe, 'Moten/s') such a celebrated thinker. At the end of sentences like these, you want to say something like Amen." — Jess Row, Bookforum
"At a time when both theory and criticism are frequently and convincingly attacked as exhausted forms, Moten’s trilogy has reinvented both. . . . In its mixture of theoretical complexity and disarming directness, Moten’s beautifully written trilogy offers the sheer pleasure of art." — Lidija Haas, Vulture
"My favorite book(s) of 2018 are the three volumes of Fred Moten’s consent not to be a single being, individually titled Black and Blur, Stolen Life, and The Universal Machine. In this collection of essays stretching back fifteen years, Moten challenges the reader to imagine a radically interconnected aesthetic and political sphere that stretches from Glenn Gould to Fanon to Kant to Theaster Gates, sometimes in the space of a single sentence. This trilogy is one of the great intellectual adventures of our era." — Jess Row, Bookforum
"2018 must go down for me as the year of Fred Moten’s trilogy: Black and Blur, Stolen Life, and The Universal Machine. You could say they’re essays about art, philosophy, blackness, and the refusal of social death, but I think of them more as a fractal universe forever inviting immersion and exploration, a living force now inhabiting my bookshelf."
— Maggie Nelson, Bookforum
"Moten presents his inimitable and endlessly generative mode of thought in encounters with a wide range of primary and scholarly texts. . . . Moten illuminates what he has called the 'improvisational immanence' of blackness to show how—as concept, radical aesthetic, political tradition, and mode of being—it precedes and disrupts the regulative discourses that enshrine notions of sovereignty." — Janet Neary, Postmodern Culture
"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