Gregg Lambert, Towards a Geopolitical Image of Thought – Edinburgh University Press, February 2021

Gregg Lambert, Towards a Geopolitical Image of Thought – Edinburgh University Press, February 2021

Radically reorientates the future direction of Continental philosophy according to a geo-political image of thought 

  • Presents the notion of ‘geophilosophy’ as an alternative to contemporary theories of political theology
  • Offers a defence of Lyotard’s concept of le differend as charting the future of continental philosophy
  • Highlights the role of collective identification in the creation of conceptual personae and ‘isms’ in the history of continental thought 
  • Shows Nietzsche’s influence on the uniquely modern role of the ‘conceptual persona’ in the philosophy of Deleuze

Drawing from his previous writings on the search for a new image of thought and the vitalist role of ‘conceptual personae’ in the history of philosophy, Gregg Lambert proposes a new geo-political image of thought that is uniquely commensurate with the globalisation of contemporary continental philosophy.

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Abram Foley, The Editor Function: Literary Publishing in Postwar America – University of Minnesota Press, August 2021

Abram Foley, The Editor Function: Literary Publishing in Postwar America – University of Minnesota Press, August 2021

Michel Foucault famously theorized “the author function” in his 1969 essay “What Is an Author?” proposing that the existence of the author limits textual meaning. Abram Foley shows a similar critique at work in the labor of several postwar editors who sought to question and undo the corporate “editorial/industrial complex.” Marking an end to the powerful trope of the editor as gatekeeper, The Editor Functiondemonstrates how practices of editing and publishing constitute their own kinds of thought, calling on us to rethink what we read and how.

The Editor Function follows avant-garde American literary editors and the publishing practices they developed to compete against the postwar corporate consolidation of the publishing industry. Foley studies editing and publishing through archival readings and small press and literary journal publishing lists as unique sites for literary inquiry. Pairing histories and analyses of well- and lesser-known figures and publishing formations, from Cid Corman’s Origin and Nathaniel Mackey’s Hambone to Dalkey Archive Press and Semiotext(e), Foley offers the first in-depth engagement with major publishing initiatives in the postwar United States.

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Jacques Derrida, Donner le temps II – Seuil, April 2021

Jacques Derrida, Donner le temps II – Seuil, April 2021

« Donner, est-ce possible ? » C’est la question que pose Jacques Derrida dans Donner le temps. 1. La fausse monnaie (1991). Un don ne peut jamais s’annoncer comme tel. Dès lors qu’il engage dans le cercle de l’échange économique et de la dette, le don semble s’annuler dans l’équivalence symbolique qui l’aura toujours réduit à l’objet d’un calcul, d’une ruse qui prétend donner généreusement mais non sans attendre quelque récompense en retour. Un don, s’il y en a, ne peut jamais se faire présent, c’est-à-dire qu’il ne peut jamais se présenter ni pour le donataire ni pour le donateur. Pour donner – si une telle chose est possible – il faudrait, peut-être, renoncer au présent.

Indiqué comme un premier tome, Donner le temps en promettait clairement un second à venir. Le présent volume fournit les éléments de cette pièce manquante en donnant à lire les neuf dernières séances du séminaire donné par Jacques Derrida à l’École normale supérieure en 1978-1979 sous le titre « Donner – le temps ». Après être passé par des lectures de Baudelaire, Mauss, Benveniste, Lévi-Strauss et Lacan, Jacques Derrida tourne son attention vers la présence subtile mais décisive du don chez Heidegger, lisant des textes qui sont parmi les plus riches et les plus énigmatiques de son corpus, dont L’Origine de l’oeuvre d’art, La Chose, Être et Temps et, surtout, Temps et Être. Suivant la trace de l’expression allemande « es gibt » (« il y a », plus littéralement « ça donne ») dans la pensée heideggérienne, Derrida donne à penser quelque « chose » qui n’est pas (une chose) mais qu’il y a, ainsi qu’un donner encore plus originaire que le temps et l’être.

Édition établie par Laura Odello, Peter Szendy et Rodrigo Therezo. Préface de Rodrigo Therezo.

There doesn’t seem to be a publisher page, but it’s listed at many online bookstores.

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Meredith Farmer and Jonathan D. S. Schroeder (eds.), Ahab Unbound: Melville and the Materialist Turn – University of Minnesota Press, December 2021

Meredith Farmer and Jonathan D. S. Schroeder (eds.), Ahab Unbound: Melville and the Materialist Turn – University of Minnesota Press, December 2021

Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab is perennially seen as the paradigm of a controlling, tyrannical agent. Ahab Unbound leaves his position as a Cold War icon behind, recasting him as a contingent figure, transformed by his environment—by chemistry, electromagnetism, entomology, meteorology, diet, illness, pain, trauma, and neurons firing—in ways that unexpectedly force us to see him as worthy of our empathy and our compassion.

In sixteen essays by leading scholars, Ahab Unbound advances an urgent inquiry into Melville’s emergence as a center of gravity for materialist work, reframing his infamous whaling captain in terms of pressing conversations in animal studies, critical race and ethnic studies, disability studies, environmental humanities, medical humanities, political theory, and posthumanism. By taking Ahab as a focal point, we gather and give shape to the multitude of ways that materialism produces criticism in our current moment. Collectively, these readings challenge our thinking about the boundaries of both persons and nations, along with the racist and environmental violence caused by categories like the person and the human.

Ahab Unbound makes a compelling case for both the vitality of materialist inquiry and the continued resonance of Melville’s work.

Contributors: Branka Arsić, Columbia U; Christopher Castiglia, Pennsylvania State U; Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt U; Christian P. Haines, Pennsylvania State U; Bonnie Honig, Brown U; Jonathan Lamb, Vanderbilt U; Pilar Martínez Benedí, U of L’Aquila, Italy; Steve Mentz, St. John’s College; John Modern, Franklin and Marshall College; Mark D. Noble, Georgia State U; Samuel Otter, U of California, Berkeley; Donald E. Pease, Dartmouth College; Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College; Russell Sbriglia, Seton Hall U; Michael D. Snediker, U of Houston; Matthew A. Taylor, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ivy Wilson, Northwestern U.

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Milton Santos, For a New Geography, translated by Archie Davis – University of Minnesota Press, November 2021

Milton Santos, For a New Geography, translated by Archie Davis – University of Minnesota Press, November 2021

Originally published in 1978 in Portuguese, For a New Geography is a milestone in the history of critical geography and it marked the emergence of its author, Milton Santos (1926–2001), as a major interpreter of geographical thought, a prominent Afro-Brazilian public intellectual, and one of the foremost global theorists of space.

Published in the midst of a crisis in geographical thought, For a New Geography functioned as a bridge between geography’s past and its future. In advancing his vision of a geography of action and liberation, Santos begins by turning to the roots of modern geography and its colonial legacies. Moving from a critique of the shortcomings of geography from the field’s foundations as a modern science to the outline of a new field of critical geography, he sets forth both an ontology of space and a methodology for geography. In so doing, he introduces novel theoretical categories to the analysis of space. It is, in short, both a critique of the Northern, Anglo-centric discipline from within and a systematic critique of its flaws and assumptions from outside.

Critical geography has developed in the past four decades into a heterogeneous and creative field of inquiry. Though accruing a set of theoretical touchstones in the process, it has become detached from a longer and broader history of geographical thought. For a New Geographyreconciles these divergent histories. Arriving in English at a time of renewed interest in alternative geographical traditions and the history of radical geography, it takes its place in the canonical works of critical geography.

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Books received – Eliade, Granet, Starobinski, Bensaïd, Lyle, Kristeva

All bought second-hand, except for Daniel Bensaïd, The Dispossessed: Karl Marx’s Debates on Wood Theft and the Right of the Poor – sent by University of Minnesota Press

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Andrew Gamble, After Brexit and Other Essays & The Western Ideology and Other Essays – Bristol University Press, 2021

Andrew Gamble, After Brexit and Other Essays & The Western Ideology and Other Essays – Bristol University Press, 2021

After Brexit and Other Essays brings together Gamble’s most influential writings on British politics and political economy from the last 40 years, reflecting on issues that animate British politics, from the decline of the economy and reshaping the welfare state to the transformation of political parties and devolution to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Western Ideology and Other Essays illustrates the main themes of Gamble’s writing in intellectual history and the history of ideas, including economic liberalism and neoliberalism, and critiques from both social democratic and conservative perspectives.

More details here; each book’s description has a link to their introductions. DISCOUNT35 code to get the books at a reduced price (as of April 2021).

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Sémir Badir, Magritte et les philosophes – Les Impressions Nouvelles, May 2021

Sémir Badir, Magritte et les philosophes – Les Impressions Nouvelles, May 2021

” L’œuvre de René Magritte est extrêmement populaire, c’est sûr. Pourtant, parmi les spécialistes de l’histoire de la peinture, beaucoup affichent à son égard un certain dédain. Mauvaise peinture, ose-t-on dire. Images triviales, tours de passe-passe dispensables. Chacun pense ce qu’il veut mais je crois que ces critiques montrent qu’on n’a pas compris l’intention centrale attachée à cette œuvre. Car un travail de la pensée la traverse ; j’irais jusqu’à dire que l’œuvre de Magritte est cela même : l’exercice d’une pensée, d’une pensée en images. Le dédain vient de ce qu’on n’a pas véritablement envisagé ce que signifie « penser en images ».

Dans ce livre, je propose une enquête. En m’appuyant très largement sur les dits et écrits de Magritte recueillis après sa mort, et qui ont accompagné les tableaux tout au long de leur création, je tente de restituer la pensée en images de Magritte. En eux-mêmes les tableaux n’y donnent pas accès : on aurait beau chercher et commenter ce qu’ils signifient, on ne parviendrait pas encore à saisir en quoi ils sont nécessaires à la pensée. Alors je les mets en rapport avec des concepts philosophiques. Je montre, à partir de six études, que les tableaux de Magritte sont comparables à des concepts philosophiques et qu’ils réalisent, au sein de l’œuvre, un travail similaire aux concepts qu’emploient les philosophes pour écrire leur pensée.”

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Michel Foucault, Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle , edited by Elisabetta Basso – EHESS/Seuil/Gallimard, May 2021

Michel Foucault, Binswanger et l’analyse existentielle, edited by Elisabetta Basso – EHESS/Seuil/Gallimard, May 2021

En 1954 paraît en traduction française Le Rêve et l’Existence du psychiatre suisse Ludwig Binswanger, accompagné d’une introduction de Michel Foucault. Le philosophe y annonce un « ouvrage ultérieur » qui « s’efforcera de situer l’analyse existentielle dans le développement de la réflexion contemporaine sur l’homme ». Foucault ne publiera jamais ce livre, mais il en a conservé le manuscrit ici présenté. Il y procède à un examen systématique de la « Daseinsanalyse», la compare aux approches de la psychiatrie, de la psychanalyse et de la phénoménologie, et salue son ambition de comprendre la maladie mentale. Cette démarche l’accompagne dans sa quête de « quelque chose de différent des grilles traditionnelles du regard psychiatrique », d’un « contrepoids » ; pourtant il en souligne déjà les ambiguïtés et les faiblesses, en particulier une dérive vers une spéculation métaphysique qui éloigne de l’« homme concret ».

C’est en réalité à une double déprise que nous assistons : d’abord à l’égard de la psychiatrie, puis, à l’égard de l’analyse existentielle elle-même, qui le conduit bientôt à la perspective radicalement nouvelle de l’Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique. La marque de ce travail ne disparaîtra pas pour autant. En 1984, Michel Foucault présente de cette manière son Histoire de la sexualité : « Étudier ainsi, dans leur histoire, des formes d’expérience est un thème qui m’est venu d’un projet plus ancien : celui de faire usage des méthodes de l’analyse existentielle dans le champ de la psychiatrie et dans le domaine de la maladie mentale. »

This was due to be published last year, but got delayed due to the pandemic. It is now listed for May 2021. This is a much longer text than Foucault’s Introduction to the translation of Binswanger’s ‘Dream and Existence’. I read this text in manuscript in Paris, and discuss it in The Early Foucault. As readers of my research updates will know (i.e. here and here), the delay in publication meant I had to go back to Paris last July, in a gap between lockdowns and when there were limited travel restrictions, in order to complete the manuscript. When I’d left Paris in February 2020 I’d planned another trip in April, which wasn’t possible, and I’d imagined I’d also have the published version to work with. Since neither were the case, I had to go back to spend another few days with the manuscript, to complete the discussion. I’m glad I went in July – as I’ve not been able to get back since, and The Early Foucault would still be incomplete, as opposed to nearly published.

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Alex Danchev, Magritte: A Life – Pantheon, November 2021

Alex Danchev, Magritte: A Life – Pantheon, November 2021

This is really welcome news – Danchev’s biographies of Georges Braque and Paul Cézanne were very interesting. This book was left incomplete at the time of his death, but has been completed by Sarah Whitfield ( a little more on this here).

The first major biography of the pathbreaking, perpetually influential surrealist artist René Magritte–from the celebrated biographer of Braque and Cézanne.

In this stimulating life of René Magritte (1898-1967), Alex Danchev makes a case for the artist as the single most significant purveyor of images to the modern world. His surreal sensibility, deadpan melodrama, and fine-tuned outrageousness have all become inescapably part of our visual landscape through legendary works such as The Treachery of Images (aka Ceci n’est pas une pipe), and his iterations of the man in a bowler hat, raining down in multiples from the sky or with an apple where his face should be. Danchev explores the path of this highly unconventional artist from his middle-class Belgian beginnings through the years in which he led a small, brilliant band of Belgian surrealists (and famously clashed with André Breton), through his first major retrospective which traveled the United States in 1965 and gave rise to his international reputation.

Using thirty-two pages of color inserts and black-and-white illustrations throughout the text, Danchev delves into a deep examination of Magritte’s artistic development and the profound questions he raised in his work about the very nature of authenticity. Here is a major biography for our time that plumbs the mystery of an iconoclast whose influence can be seen in everyone from Jasper Johns to Beyoncé.

ALEX DANCHEV, who died as he was finishing this biography, was educated at University College, Oxford; Trinity Hall, Cambridge; and King’s College, London. He was the author of the biographies Georges Braque and Cézanne, as well as a new translation of The Letters of Paul Cézanne. He also wrote the essay collections On Art and War and Terror, On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone, and 100 Artists’ Manifestos. For three years before his death, he was professor of international relations at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland.

SARAH WHITFIELD is an art historian, writer, and curator. She is coauthor of the René Magritte: Catalogue Raisonné, and serves on the authentication committee for the Estate of Francis Bacon.

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