"At last, she arrives at the fatal end of the plank . . . and, with her hands crossed over her chest, falls straight downward, suspended for a moment in the air before being devoured by the burning pit that awaits her. . . ." This grisly 1829 account by Pierre Dubois demonstrates the usual European response to the Hindu custom of satis sacrificing themselves on the funeral pyres of their husbands—horror and revulsion. Yet to those of the Hindu faith, not least the satis themselves, this act signals the sati's sacredness and spiritual power.
Ashes of Immortality attempts to see the satis through Hindu eyes, providing an extensive experiential and psychoanalytic account of ritual self-sacrifice and self-mutilation in South Asia. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork in northern India, where the state-banned practice of sati reemerged in the 1970s, as well as extensive textual analysis, Weinberger-Thomas constructs a radically new interpretation of satis. She shows that their self-immolation transcends gender, caste and class, region and history, representing for the Hindus a path to immortality.
"Roudinesco provides a finely drawn map of the intellectual debates within French psychoanalysis, especially under the influence of the German emigrés during the 1930s and 1940s. She is a good historian, in that she provides not only a narrative history but also extensive passages from Lacan's own oral-history interviews with the various figures, so that we have not only her commentary but some flavor of the original documentation. Many of the quotes are gems."—Sander I. Gilman, Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
These four essays—on Blanchot, Lacan, Giraudoux, and Gide—have as their focus the barely imaginable coherence which the writings of four major contemporaries take on when read in the light of France's pre-World War II heritage of anti-Jewish thought. As the essays delve into such crucial topics as the inaugural silence in Blanchot's sense of literature, the "style" of Lacan, Giraudoux's relation to Racine, and the sexual politics of Gide, they engage a realm that at times seems—or seemed—anti-Semitic in its essence. Negotiating the complex ramifications of a lost tradition and the structure of its obliteration, Jeffrey Mehlman, in his conclusion, speculates on the emblematic value of Walter Benjamin's perpetually deferred "journey to Palestine via France" and its import for textual interpretation.
A French version of Mehlman's essay on Blanchot, published in Tel quel,spurred an impassioned journalistic debate in Paris and London. Broadening still further the context of that inquiry, Legacies will prove a source of provocation and insight to all who are interested in the intellectual history of contemporary France.
Jacques Derrida Northwestern University Press, 1988 Library of Congress PN98.D43D45 1988 | Dewey Decimal 801.95
Limited Inc is a major work in the philosophy of language by the celebrated French thinker Jacques Derrida. The book's two essays, "Limited Inc" and "Signature Event Context," constitute key statements of the Derridean theory of deconstruction. They are the clearest exposition to be found of Derrida's most controversial idea, that linguistic meaning is fundamentally indeterminate because the contexts that fix meaning are never stable. Limited Inc includes an important new afterword by the author.
In light of the legendary difficulty of Walter Benjamin's works, it is a strange and intriguing fact that from 1929 to 1933 the great critic and cultural theorist wrote—and broadcast—numerous scripts, on the order of fireside chats, for children. Invited to speak on whatever subject he considered appropriate, Benjamin talked to the children of Frankfurt and Berlin about the destruction of Pompeii, an earthquake in Lisbon, and a railroad disaster at the Firth of Tay. He spoke about bootlegging and swindling, cataclysm and suicide, Faust and Cagliostro. In this first sustained analysis of the thirty surviving scripts, Jeffrey Mehlman demonstrates how Benjamin used the unlikely forum of children's radio to pursue some of his central philosophical and theological concerns.
Walter Benjamin for Children
, readers will encounter a host of intertextual surprises: an evocation of the flooding of the Mississippi informed by the argument of "The Task of the Translator;" a discussion of scams in stamp-collecting that turns into "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction;" a tale of bootlegging in the American South that converges with the best of Benjamin's essays on fiction. Mehlman superimposes a dual series of texts dealing with catastrophe, on the one hand, and fraud, on the other, that resonate with the false-messianic theology of Sabbatianism as it came to focus the attention and enthusiasm of Benjamin's friend Gershom Scholem during the same years. The radio scripts for children, that is, offer an unexpected byway, on the eve of the apocalypse, into Benjamin's messianic preoccupations.
A child's garden of deconstruction, these twenty-minute talks—from the perspective of childhood, before an invisible audience, on whatever happened to cross the critic's mind—are also by their very nature the closest we may ever come to a transcript of a psychoanalysis of Walter Benjamin. Particularly alive to that circumstance, Mehlman explores the themes of the radio broadcasts and brilliantly illuminates their hidden connections to Benjamin's life and work.
This lucid analysis brings to light some of the least researched and understood aspects of Walter Benjamin's thought. It will interest and provoke literary theorists and philosophers of culture, as well as anyone who hopes to understand one of this century's most suggestive and perplexing critics.
Perhaps the most influential anthropologist of his generation, Claude Lévi-Strauss left a profound mark on the development of twentieth-century thought, equal to that of phenomenology and existentialism. Through a fertile mixture of insights gleaned from linguistics and from sociology and ethnology, Lévi-Strauss elaborated his theory of structural unity in culture and became the preeminent representative of structural anthropology. La Pensée sauvage, published in French in 1962, was his crowning achievement. Ranging over philosophies, historical periods, and human societies, it challenged the prevailing assumption of the superiority of modern Western culture and sought to explain the unity of human intellection.
Unfortunately titled The Savage Mind when it first published in English in 1966, the original translation nevertheless sparked a fascination with Lévi-Strauss’s work among generations of Anglophone readers. Wild Thought: A New Translation of “La Pensée sauvage” rekindles that spark with a fresh and accessible new translation. Including critical annotations for the contemporary reader, it restores the accuracy and integrity of the book that changed the course of twentieth-century thought, making it an indispensable addition to any philosophical and anthropological library.