Christopher Watkin has shared an update and the Introduction of his major study of Michel Serres.
For the past three and a half years I have been working on a monograph on the thought of Michel Serres. It has been an exhilarating and exhausting project, in the course of which I have largely forgotten what it feels like to be anywhere near an intellectual comfort zone.
During these years I have also been on a journey of learning how to write a book on a single thinker. It has come down, I think, to juggling three related concerns: letting Serres’s thought speak for itself and operate with its own evolving parameters and sensibilities; bringing it into conversation with the positions adopted by other thinkers without taking the focus away from Serres’s own concerns or emphases; and developing an approach to writing on a single thinker per se, seeking to draw my book’s rhythm and approach out of Serres’s own patterns of thought rather than forcing him into an alien set of assumptions and categories, all the while avoiding a hagiographic approach.
This week I finished the first full draft of the book, which spans six chapters and runs to 181 000 words including translated quotations. I have posted the full draft Introduction below, and it is also available as a PDF on academia.edu and researchgate.net. The Introduction gives the reader a sense of my overall approach, some of the main characteristics of Serres’s writing and a potted biography, as well as making the case for the timeliness of Serres’s thought.