cover of book

Jean-François Lyotard
by Kiff Bamford
Reaktion Books, 2017
Paper: 978-1-78023-808-1 | eISBN: 978-1-78023-869-2

Best known in the English-speaking world for his book The Postmodern Condition, Jean-François Lyotard was one of the most important and complex French thinkers of the twentieth century. In this new critical biography, Kiff Bamford traces the multi-faceted, sometimes surprising, journey of Lyotard’s life and work.

Bamford’s book is the first to consider Lyotard’s work and ideas in the wider context of his life and times. He unravels the thrust of Lyotard’s main philosophical arguments, his struggle with thinking, and his confrontation with the task of writing and thinking differently about philosophy. Bamford takes care to situate each of these in their particular context: the Algerian war; the experimental university at Vincennes; and within Lyotard’s sustained engagement with the visual arts. The philosopher’s own suspicion of easy narratives and rejection of self-determination help to frame the book. It is only by following these prescribed cautions that Bamford is able to present a compelling portrait of a challenging subject.

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