Challenging reference problems with Dumézil’s Mitra-Varuna – any help gratefully received

I am looking for help with some of the more challenging references in my editorial work with Georges Dumézil’s Mitra-Varuna. I have checked hundreds of references, correcting some and completing many, but these are the ones I am still stuck with. Any help would be much appreciated.

Texts I cannot locate except in Sanskrit 

Are there English, French, German (or any Western European) translations of 

Maitrayani Samhita (IV, 8, 1 and V, 2, 5)

Taiitriya Brahmana (I, 7, 10, 1 and I, 1, 4, 7)

Kathaka Brahmana (II, 30, 1)

Gopatha Brahmana (II, 1, 2)

There are six references in total between these four texts. I am fairly sure there are no complete translations, though there are critical editions of the Sanskrit (often with German titles and apparatus). For example, Dumézil used Leopold von Schroeder (ed.), Maitrāyaṇī saṃhitā, Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus, four volumes 1881-86. Are there good (and clearly organised) places like readers which might include these specific passages?

[Update: both passages from Taiitriya Brahmana can be found in J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts – Vol V, 58 and Vol I, 186, with the latter having the reference I, 1, 4, 4. Dumézil references Muir in Mitra-Varuna and it may well be his source, rather than an edition of the text itself. Muir provides transliteration and English translations of selected passages. There is also a German translation of Maitrayani Samhita, but only of the first two books, published in 2009, which I will check]

Texts where the reference is wrong

There are some references which are clearly wrong, and in most cases I’ve been able to find the correct reference. There are others where his reference may be correct to the edition he used, but there is different arrangement in ones with wider circulation, so I’ve cited both his location and a more accessible one. But I’m stuck with one.

Dumézil references Rg Veda IV, 53, 6, concerning Savitr as a god who sends to sleep. I can’t see how this is correct, though he also references VII, 45, 1, which does seems right. My best guess is the first reference should be to IV, 53, 7, which mentions Savitr being favourable by night and day. Any ideas?

Secondary Sources

Dumézil mentions that someone called M.P. Arnold (this possibly means Monsieur P. Arnold), wrote a book called Mavors. In 1948 Dumézil says this was ‘just published’, but I am unable to find a reference anywhere. Mavors is Mars, the god of war, but searching for Arnold and Mars just leads to Schwarzenegger’s movie Total Recall… This may be Paul Arnold, who Dumézil knew, but he didn’t publish a book around this time which looks an obvious connection. Perhaps his 1947 book Le Dieu de Baudelaire? A Mlle Arnold attended a course Dumézil taught, so it’s possible the book was published under a married name, but I’m still drawing a blank.

[Update: it appears this might be an article, though Dumézil clearly says book. I hope to see that next week]

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Books received – Eliade, Benveniste, Charachidzé, Balibar, Godelier

Mainly second-hand books for the Indo-European thought project, along with Étienne Balibar, Cosmopolitique, the third volume in his Écrits series, and Maurice Godelier’s study of Lévi-Strauss (available in English from Verso, translated by Nora Scott), both bought in Paris.

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Georges Canguilhem Beyond Epistemology, online event, 16 May 2022 [postponed]

Unfortunately this event has been postponed. I’ll share the new date when agreed.

Progressive Geographies

Georges Canguilhem Beyond Epistemology, online event, 16 May 2022 new date to be arranged

Georges Canguilhem was one of the most influential historians and philosophers of science of 20th-century France. Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Alain Badiou and other important thinkers of the stressed the importance of Canguilhem’s ideas and methods for the development of their own thinking as well as for shaping the intellectual field in which they positioned themselves. There is, however, much more to Canguilhem’s work than a series of delimited and specialised studies in epistemology and the history of science. The workshop will explore the wider philosophical implications of Canguilhem’s historical epistemology and reveal a more nuanced and complex picture of this author. Our aim will be to present Canguilhem as a ‘philosopher’, exploring a variety of topics, from his engagements with the history of philosophy to his ethical and political reflections, passing through his reflections…

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E-International Relations Interview – David Campbell

E-International Relations Interview – David Campbell

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Mark Neocleous, The Politics of Immunity: Security and the Policing of Bodies – Verso, March 2022 (and New Books Network discussion)

There is a discussion of the book at the New Books Network with Catriona Gold –

Progressive Geographies

Mark Neocleous, The Politics of Immunity: Security and the Policing of Bodies – Verso, March 2022

Our contemporary political condition is obsessed with immunity. The immunity of bodies and the body politic; personal immunity and herd immunity; how to immunize the social system against breakdown. The obsession intensifies with every new crisis and the mobilization of yet more powers of war and police, from quarantine to border closures and from vaccination certificates to immunological surveillance. Engaging four key concepts with enormous cultural weight—Cell, Self, System and Sovereignty—Politics of Immunitymoves from philosophical biology to intellectual history and from critical theory to psychoanalysis to expose the politics underpinning the way immunity is imagined. At the heart of this imagination is the way security has come to dominate the whole realm of human experience. From biological cell to political subject, and from physiological system to the social body, immunity folds into…

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Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm (eds.), Territories, Environments, Politics, Explorations in Territoriology – online book launch, 10 May 2022, 1-3pm CEST

Starting soon – launch event for Territories, Environments, Politics

Progressive Geographies

Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm (eds.), Territories, Environments, Politics, Explorations in Territoriology – online book launch, 10 May 2022, 1-3pm CEST

Details of the book follow:

Andrea Mubi Brighenti and Mattias Kärrholm (eds.),Territories, Environments, Politics,Explorations in Territoriology– Routledge, April 2022

This collection seeks to illustrate the state of the art in territoriological research, both empirical and theoretical. The volume gathers together a series of original, previously unpublished essays exploring the newly emerging territorial formations in culture, politics and society.

While the globalisation debate of the 1990s largely pivoted around a ‘general deterritorialisation’ hypothesis, since the 2000s it has become apparent that, rather than effacing territories, global connections are added to them, and represent a further factor in the increase of territorial complexity. Key questions follow, such as: How can we further the knowledge around territorial complexities and the ways in which different processes of territorialisation co-exist and…

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Celebrating ten years of Territory, Politics, Governance

Celebrating ten years of Territory, Politics, Governance – ten papers from the first ten years of the journal, available open access and an editorial reflecting on the journal and work on these themes.

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Indo-European Thought project update 3: Paris – Foucault, Canguilhem, Dumézil

I had a good two-week visit to Paris, where I worked at both the Mitterand and Richelieu sites of the Bibliothèque nationale, the Collège de France and the École normale supérieure. It was something of a transitional trip, doing a little with some loose ends on the Foucault work, an article, the Mitra-Varuna editing, and beginning to think more seriously about the wider Indo-European project.

The Richelieu site of the BnF is in the final stages of a massive renovation. It’s been a building site for all the years I’ve been working there. The manuscripts room was closed for a period earlier this year, which meant I wasn’t able to do a final visit when finishing The Archaeology of Foucault. While I’d done all the key work on the 1960s, there were a couple of small things I wanted to check, and there is lot more relating to the later periods of Foucault’s career that wasn’t available when I wrote Foucault’s Last Decade. The allure of the archive… always more to explore.

I looked at a few things from the 1970s and 1980s, but what I can say is that if you are interested in the later Foucault, there is so much to be done. There are substantial materials relating to abandoned and unfinished books – the project on technologies of the self, the manuscript on the medieval church under the title of La Chair et le corps, all Foucault’s materials relating to Les Aveux de la chair published in 2018, substantial fragments of La croisade des enfants on the campaign against childhood masturbation, the project on hermaphrodites… 

None of this material was accessible (at least to me) when I did the research for Foucault’s Last Decade, but it is a rich and largely untapped resource. I don’t know what plans there are for publishing from this material but what I have seen seems to me often to be as developed as some of the material from the 1950s and 1960s currently being edited for the Gallimard/Seuil/EHESS series ‘Cours et travaux avant le Collège de France’.

Excellent work has been done on Foucault archival material, by among others, Daniel Defert, Henri-Paul Fruchaud, Frédéric Gros, Daniele Lorenzini, Philippe Sabot, Elisabetta Basso, Arianna Sforzini, Orazio Irrera, Bernard Harcourt, Claude-Olivier Doron, Philippe Chevallier… I know some PhD and post-docs have done work that is waiting to be published – including  Luke Ilott, Aner Barzilay, Valentina Antoniol… but fascinating PhDs, articles and books are just waiting to be written. To my mind this is all much more interesting than some of the debates dominating anglophone Foucault studies.

At the École normale supérieure, I was again using the Georges Canguilhem collection, held at CAPHÉS. This was to look at some books in his library, especially with dedications from Jean Hyppolite and one from Georges Dumézil, and a few drafts of pieces about Hyppolite. I discuss the Canguilhem, Dumézil, Hyppolite connections in a piece for a theme issue of Revue internationale de philosophie on Canguilhem, edited by Federico Testa, which will be discussed at a workshop on 16 May. I wasn’t able to get to this archive when drafting that piece, so there were a number of things I wanted to check and a couple of things to correct.

At the Collège de France, this was a preliminary visit to the Dumézil archive. I’d only been here once before to look at some of the Dumézil-Foucault correspondence when I was writing The Early Foucault. I plan to come here a lot for the Indo-European project, but on this trip I just consulted two lecture courses and a small file of papers about the Mitra-Varuna book. This is intended to help with the work for the Introduction to the new edition of that text. There is a huge amount of material here, and it’s going to be a lot of work. One major challenge is his awful handwriting – and I thought Foucault was difficult. Of course, nearly everything here was written only for him to read, but even so….

At the BnF Mitterand, I did some work on the references for the Mitra-Varuna text, checking more of Dumézil’s references and adding some detail to the Introduction. I am now down to about a dozen of Dumézil’s references which I’ve been unable so far to verify. Six of those are to texts which I don’t think have been translated from Sanskrit, a couple are secondary works which I hope I can resolve at the British Library this week, and some are, I think, simple errors. One is a really hard-to-find text. At some point I will probably share the remaining reference problems, hoping someone can help. 

Having found Foucault’s Collège de France course summaries so useful – his reflective thoughts on a course and its themes, usually written a few months after their conclusion – I was hoping that the ones for Dumézil and Émile Benveniste would be similarly interesting. Each issue of the Annuaire de Collège de France lists the forthcoming year’s courses, and each Professor reports on the year just gone and their publications. But they are sadly rather perfunctory, and Dumézil in particular seems to lose interest in doing this task. Nonetheless, they still offer some valuable information as I seek to reconstruct their work.

I am hoping that I can wrap up the editing work on Mitra-Varuna in the next few weeks, and then shift to a long-delayed article.

A bit more on this project can be found here; and all the updates on the Foucault work here.

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Books received – Merriman, Tyner, Highley, le Goff, Maynooth Philosophical Papers, della Dora

Peter Merriman, Space, James Tyner, The Alienated Subject: On the Capacity to Hurt, Christopher Highley, Blackfriars in Early Modern London: Theater, Church and Neighborhood, Philippe le Goff, Auguste Blanqui and the Politics of Popular Empowerment, Maynooth Philosophical Papers 11, with two interesting articles on Foucault, and Veronica della Dora’s Where Light in Darkness Lies: The Story of the Lighthouse.

Philippe and Veronica kindly sent the copies of their books, I endorsed Peter’s book, and am on the board of the OUP Early Modern Literary Geographies series. University of Minnesota Press sent James Tyner’s book, and Philipp W. Rosemann sent the issue of Maynooth Philosophical Papers. Thanks to all.

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Margath Walker, Spatializing Marcuse: Critical Theory for Contemporary Times – Bristol University Press, July 2022

Margath Walker, Spatializing Marcuse: Critical Theory for Contemporary Times – Bristol University Press, July 2022

This  fresh  appraisal of philosopher Herbert Marcuse’s work foregrounds the geographical aspects of one of the leading social and political theorists of the 20th  century.    

Margath A. Walker  considers  how Marcusean philosophies  might  challenge the way we think about space and politics and create new sensibilities. Applying them to  contemporary  geopolitics, digital infrastructure and  issues  like resistance and immigration, the book shows how social change  has been  stifled, and how Marcuse’s philosophies could provide the tools to overturn the status quo. 

She demonstrates Marcuse’s relevance to individuals and society, and finds this important theorist of opposition can point the way to resisting oppressive forces within contemporary capitalism.

“Moving clearly between philosophy, social theory and a range of contemporary examples, this is a compelling political and geographical account of why Herbert Marcuse’s work remains of enduring importance today.” Stuart Elden, University of Warwick

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