front cover of The Deconstruction of Sex
The Deconstruction of Sex
Jean-Luc Nancy and Irving Goh
Duke University Press, 2021
In The Deconstruction of Sex, Jean-Luc Nancy and Irving Goh discuss how a deconstructive approach to sex helps us negotiate discourses about sex and foster a better understanding of how sex complicates our everyday existence in the age of #MeToo. Throughout their conversation, Nancy and Goh engage with topics ranging from relation, penetration, and subjection to touch, erotics, and jouissance. They show how despite its entrenchment in social norms and centrality to our being-in-the-world, sex lacks a clearly defined essence. At the same time, they point to the potentiality of literature to inscribe the senses of sex. In so doing, Nancy and Goh prompt us to reconsider our relations with ourselves and others through sex in more sensitive, respectful, and humble ways without bracketing the troubling aspects of sex.

front cover of Doing
Jean-Luc Nancy
Seagull Books, 2020
In Doing, Jean-Luc Nancy, one of the most prominent and lucid articulators of contemporary French theory and philosophy, examines the precarious but urgent relationship between being and doing. His book is not so much a call to action as a summons to more vigorous thinking, the examination and reflection that must precede any effective action. The first section of the book considers this matter tersely: Jean-Luc Nancy’s quickness of language and grace of humor lead the reader carefully past the dangers of oversimplification, toward a general awareness of meaningful being. In the last section, Nancy examines the realities of terrorist actions—specifically those that shocked Paris a few years ago, and more generally the frightening world of politics without conscience, where conscience is the root of all thinking.

front cover of Fortino Sámano
Fortino Sámano
The Overflowing of the Poem
Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy
Omnidawn, 2012
Fortino Sámano (the overflowing of the poem), translated by Cynthia Hogue and Sylvain Gallais, with French on facing pages, is a collaborative work by the emerging French poet, Virginie Lalucq, and the distinguished philosopher, Jean-Luc Nancy. Lalucq wrote the serial poem, Fortino Sámano, after seeing an exhibit of photographs on the Mexican Revolution by Agustin Victor Casasola. Her series is a meditation on the single, extant photograph of Sámano, a Zapatista lieutenant and counterfeiter, which Casasola snapped as Sámano, smoking a last cigar, appeared to stare death nonchalantly in the face moments before his execution by firing squad (it was reported that he himself gave the order to fire). Little is known about Sámano, and Lalucq’s poem makes no attempt to be biographical or historical. Rather, she treats the image itself, the fact that the camera caught the image of life just prior to its end. What, then, does the image represent? She asks. Nancy’s section, Les débordements du poème (The overflowing of the poem), is a series of poetic commentaries on each of the poems in Lalucq’s series. It is a philosophical contemplation of the specific poem, Fortino Sámano, and also, a poetic investigation of the lyric genre, which works hand-in-hand with Lalucq’s poems. Fortino Sámano is an exciting poetic dialogue, and a significant work in poetics, which Hogue and Gallais have brought into English.

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Handsomely Done
Aesthetics, Politics, and Media after Melville
Edited by Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz
Northwestern University Press, 2019
Handsomely Done: Aesthetics, Politics, and Media after Melville brings together leading and emerging scholars from comparative literature, critical theory, and media studies to examine Melville’s works in light of their ongoing afterlife and seemingly permanent contemporaneity. The volume explores the curious fact that the works of this most linguistically complex and seemingly most “untranslatable” of authors have yielded such compelling translations and adaptations as well as the related tendency of Melville’s writing to flash into relevance at every new historical-political conjuncture.

The volume thus engages not only Melville reception across media (Jorge Luis Borges, John Huston, Jean-Luc Godard, Led Zeppelin, Claire Denis) but also the Melvillean resonances and echoes of various political events and movements, such as the Attica uprising, the Red Army Faction, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter. This consideration of Melville’s afterlife opens onto theorizations of intermediality, un/translatability, and material intensity even as it also continually faces the most concrete and pressing questions of history and politics. 

front cover of Hegel
The Restlessness Of The Negative
Jean-Luc Nancy
University of Minnesota Press, 2002

front cover of Inoperative Community
Inoperative Community
Jean-Luc Nancy
University of Minnesota Press, 1991

front cover of L’Écologique de l’Histoire
L’Écologique de l’Histoire
Valentin Husson
Diaphanes, 2020

Il y a plaisir à saluer l‘arrivée d’un philosophe tout neuf qui soudain bondit dans le cortège dionysiaque. Plus on est de fous, plus on pense, le proverbe dit vrai et notre temps de misère a plus que besoin de se refaire – s’il se peut – une vigueur spéculative. Il y a plus que du plaisir, une vraie jubilation lorsque le tout neuf philosophe affirme une pensée de la jouissance, de l’abondance et de la dépense au sens de Bataille (ici toujours discrètement mais efficacement présent). Une pensée énergique au sens le plus – oserais-je dire « vitalisant » du terme. L’energeia n’a-t-elle de sens que depuis l’être ? N’y a-t-il pas une autre énergie à penser ? Une énergie non pas de l’être, ni relative à celle extraite de la nature pour des fins productives et économiques, mais une énergie excédentaire, une sorte de « dépense improductive » (Bataille) de la vie ? Une énergie qui serait le luxe biologique du vivant. Ce luxe biologique, Valentin Husson le pense comme – on ne peut plus dire « ontologique » – comme existence en un sens qui se dérobe à Heidegger et à son « sens de l’être » pour affirmer un avoir à être selon lequel l’être se dissipe au-delà de toute consistance tandis que l’avoir à prend toute l’énergie d’une vie en débordante envie d’elle-même. Jean-Luc Nancy


front cover of Qu'appelons-nous penser?
Qu'appelons-nous penser?
Jean-Luc Nancy and Daniel Tyradellis
Diaphanes, 2013
Jean-Luc Nancy et Daniel Tyradellis, philosophes, questionnant tous deux la nature même de la pensée, se sont rencontrés un soir de novembre 2012 à Berlin. En a résulté un dialogue sur les représentations que nous nous faisons de la pensée, sur ce qui nous y amène, nous y force ou nous y incite ; mais également sur les bonnes et les mauvaises raisons de penser, sur la philosophie et la misosophie.

Cet échange rare et singulier traite de la précarité de toute pensée, qu’elle s’établisse dans la langue, dans l’image, dans le corps ou dans l’espace ; du nous et de la pensée partagée qui ouvre les possibilités du sens. Il dessine une pensée qui s’épuise, mais qui aime aussi, et nous redonne foi en l’existence.

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Reading Ronell
Edited by Diane Davis
University of Illinois Press, 2008

Avital Ronell has won worldwide acclaim for her work across literature and philosophy, psychoanalysis and popular culture, political theory and feminism, art and rhetoric, drugs and deconstruction. In works such as The Test Drive, Stupidity, Crack Wars, and The Telephone Book, she has perpetually raised new and powerful questions about how we think, what thinking does, and how we fool ourselves about the troubled space between thought and action.

In this collection, some of today's most distinguished and innovative thinkers turn their attention to Ronell's teaching, writing, and provocations, observing how Ronell reads and what comes from reading her. By reading Ronell, and reading Ronell reading, contributors examine the ethico-political implications of her radical dislocations and carefully explicate, extend, and explore the paraconcepts addressed in her works.


front cover of Rencontre
Carolin Meister and Jean-Luc Nancy
Diaphanes, 2021
D’une rencontre est né un dialogue au sujet de la rencontre : un étonnement partagé de la possibilité qu’ait lieu l’incalculable, l’imprévisible et l’irréductible. Une curiosité pour la justesse de ce qui n’a été ni concerté ni décidé.

Hasard, providence, intrication quantique, rituel, animisme, étreinte ou porosité, pensée ou art sont autant de tentatives de tourner autour de ce qui nous échappe quand nous nous rencontrons. Et autant de façons de se rencontrer là où la philosophie reconnait que l’art lui échappe.

front cover of Reticulations
Jean-Luc Nancy and the Networks of the Political
Philip Armstrong
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

Revealing how networks reopen our understanding of political discourse today

Significantly advancing our notion of what constitutes a network, Philip Armstrong proposes a rethinking of political public space that specifically separates networks from the current popular discussion of globalization and information technology.

Analyzing a wide range of Jean-Luc Nancy’s works, Reticulations shows how his project of articulating the political in terms of singularities, pluralities, and multiplicities can deepen our understanding of networks and how they influence community and politics. Even more striking is the way Armstrong associates this general complex in Nancy’s writing with his concern for what Nancy calls the retreat of the political. Armstrong highlights what Nancy’s perspective on networks reveals about movement politics as seen in the 1999 protests in Seattle against the World Trade Organization, the impact of technology on citizenship, and finally how this perspective critiques the model of networked communism constructed by Hardt and Negri. Contesting the exclusive link between technology and networks, Reticulations ultimately demonstrates how network society creates an entirely new politics, one surprisingly rooted in community.

front cover of The Sense of the World
The Sense of the World
Nancy, Jean-Luc
University of Minnesota Press, 1998
An essential exploration of sense and meaning.

Is there a “world” anymore, let alone any “sense” to it? Acknowledging the lack of meaning in our time, and the lack of a world at the center of meanings we try to impose, Jean-Luc Nancy presents a rigorous critique of the many discourses-from philosophy and political science to psychoanalysis and art history-that talk and write their way around these gaping absences in our lives.

In an original style befitting his search for a new mode of thought, Nancy offers fragmentary readings of writers such as Nietzsche, Hegel, Marx, Lévinas, Lacan, Derrida, and Deleuze insofar as their work reflects his concern with sense and the world. Rather than celebrate or bemoan the loss of meaning or attempt to install a new one, his book seeks to reposition both sense and the world between the presence and absence of meaning, between objectivity and subjectivity. Nancy’s project entails a reconception of the field of philosophy itself, a rearticulation of philosophical practice. Neither recondite nor abstract, it is concerned with the existence and experience of freedom-the actuality of existence as experienced by contemporary communities of citizens, readers, and writers.

Combining aesthetic, political, and philosophical considerations to convey a sense of the world between meaning and reality, ideal content and material form, this book offers a new way of understanding-and responding to-“the end of the world.”  

Jean-Luc Nancy teaches at the University of Human Sciences in Strasbourg. His books in English include The Literary Absolute (with Philip Lacoue-Labarthe, 1988), The Inoperative Community (Minnesota, 1991), The Birth to Presence (1993), The Experience of Freedom (1993), and The Muses (1996).

Jeffrey S. Librett is associate professor of modern languages and literatures at Loyola University of Chicago.

front cover of The Technique of Thought
The Technique of Thought
Nancy, Laruelle, Malabou, and Stiegler after Naturalism
Ian James
University of Minnesota Press, 2019

Interrogating the work of four contemporary French philosophers to rethink philosophy’s relationship to science and science’s relationship to reality

The Technique of Thought explores the relationship between philosophy and science as articulated in the work of four contemporary French thinkers—Jean-Luc Nancy, François Laruelle, Catherine Malabou, and Bernard Stiegler. Situating their writings within both contemporary scientific debates and the philosophy of science, Ian James elaborates a philosophical naturalism that is notably distinct from the Anglo-American tradition. The naturalism James proposes also diverges decisively from the ways in which continental philosophy has previously engaged with the sciences. He explores the technical procedures and discursive methods used by each of the four thinkers as distinct “techniques of thought” that approach scientific understanding and knowledge experimentally.  

Moving beyond debates about the constructed nature of scientific knowledge, The Technique of Thought argues for a strong, variably configured, and entirely novel scientific realism. By bringing together post-phenomenological perspectives concerning individual or collective consciousness and first-person qualitative experience with science’s focus on objective and third-person quantitative knowledge, James tracks the emergence of a new image of the sciences and of scientific practice. 

Stripped of aspirations toward total mastery of the universe or a “grand theory of everything,” this renewed scientific worldview, along with the simultaneous reconfiguration of philosophy’s relationship to science, opens up new ways of interrogating immanent reality.


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