Book picks similar to
Michelet by Roland Barthes


history
french-revolution
philosophy
theory

French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States


François Cusset - 2003
    I am sure this book will become the reference on both sides of the Atlantic.” — Jacques DerridaDuring the last three decades of the twentieth century, a disparate group of radical French thinkers achieved an improbable level of influence and fame in the United States. Compared by at least one journalist to the British rock ‘n’ roll invasion, the arrival of works by Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, and Félix Guattari on American shores in the late 1970s and 1980s caused a sensation.Outside the academy, 'French theory' had a profound impact on the era’s emerging identity politics while also becoming, in the 1980s, the target of right-wing propagandists. At the same time in academic departments across the country, their poststructuralist form of radical suspicion transformed disciplines from literature to anthropology to architecture. By the 1990s, French theory was woven deeply into America’s cultural and intellectual fabric.French Theory is the first comprehensive account of the American fortunes of these unlikely philosophical celebrities. François Cusset looks at why America proved to be such fertile ground for French theory, how such demanding writings could become so widely influential, and the peculiarly American readings of these works. Reveling in the gossipy history, Cusset also provides a lively exploration of the many provocative critical practices inspired by French theory. Ultimately, he dares to shine a bright light on the exultation of these thinkers to assess the relevance of critical theory to social and political activism today-showing, finally, how French theory has become inextricably bound with American life.

Panegyric: Books 1 & 2


Guy Debord - 1989
    But I have drunk far more than most drinkers. All my life I have seen only troubled times, extreme divisions in society, and immense destruction; I have joined in these troubles. My method will be very simple. I will tell of what I have loved; and, in this light, everything else will become evident... Over the years, more than half the people I knew well had sojourned one or several times in the prisons of various countries; many, no doubt, for political reasons, but all the same a greater number for common law offenses or crimes. So I met mainly rebels or the poor. Our only manifestations, which remained rather rare and bried in the first years, were meant to be completely unacceptable; at first, especially by their form and, later, as they acquired depth, especially by their content. They were not accepted.” –Guy DebordGuy Debord, as founding and pivotal figure of the Situationist International, pursued one of the twentieth century’s most arch and exciting assaults on modern life. His 1967 Society of the Spectacle (followed, twenty years later, by Comments on the Society of the Spectacle) was a fierce critique of late-capitalist culture and became the signal text for those involved in the political events of May 1968 and beyond.Panegyric is Debord’s audacious autobiography, and here for the first time in English is the second, beautifully illustrated volume published together with the spare and classical text of the first. A rare combination of poetry and precision, it tells of something even rarer: a life that refused to adjust to the dominant malignancies of its time.

Marcel Proust: A Life


Jean-Yves Tadié - 1996
    This fascinating, definitive biography by the premier world authority on Proust redefines the way we look at both the artist and the man. A bestseller in France, where it was originally published to great critical acclaim, Jean-Yves Tadie's monumental life of Proust makes use of a wealth of primary material only recently made available, Marcel Proust: A Life provides a scrupulously researched and engaging picture of the intellectual and social universe that fed Proust's art, along with an indispensable critical reading of the work itself. The result is authoritative, magisterial, and a beautiful example of the art of biography.

The Trial of Gilles de Rais


Georges Bataille - 1959
    Fascinated with the depths of human experience the meeting points of sexuality, violence, ritual, spirituality, and death Bataille examines with dispassionate clarity the legendary crimes, trials and confessions of this grotesque and still-horrifying 15th-century child-murderer, sadist, alchemist, necrophile and practitioner of the Black Arts. Gilles de Rais began his remarkable career as lieutenant to the devout martyr and saint Joan of Arc; after her execution, he fled to his estates in the countryside of France, where he began to ritually slaughter hundreds of children. After his arrest and subsequent trials, he was hanged and burned at Nantes, France on October 25, 1440. The latter section of The Trial of Gilles de Rais consists of the actual ecclesiastical and secular trial transcripts, annotated by Bataille, and translated from the ecclesiastical Latin by Pierre Klossowski."

Michel Foucault


Didier Eribon - 1989
    Hailed by distinguished historians and lionized on his frequent visits to America, he continues to provoke lively debate. The nature and merits of his accomplishments remain tangled in controversy. Rejecting traditional liberal and Marxist "dreams of solidarity", Foucault became the very model of the modern intellectual, replacing Sartre as the figure of the eminent Parisian and cosmopolitan master thinker. Foucault himself discouraged biographical questions, claiming that he was "not at all interesting". Didier Eribon's account contests that assertion. Well acquainted with Foucault before his death, Eribon has drawn from the eyewitness accounts of Foucault's closest friends and associates from all phases of his life - his mother, his schoolteachers, his classmates, his friends and enemies in academic life, and his celebrated companions in political activism, including Jean Genet, Simone Signoret, and Yves Montand. Eribon has methodically retraced the footsteps of his peripatetic subject, from France to Sweden to Poland to Germany to Tunisia to Brazil to Japan to the United States. Who was this man, Michel Foucault? In the late 1950s Foucault emerged as a budding young cultural attache, friendly with Gaullist diplomats. By the mid-1960s he appeared as one of the avatars of structuralism, positioning himself as a new star in the fashionable world of French thought. A few months after the May 1968 student revolt, with Gaullism apparently shaken, he emerged as an ultra-leftist and a fellow traveler of Maoists. Yet during this same period, Eribon shows, he was quietly and adroitly campaigning for a chair in the College de France - the very pinnacle of the conservative French academic system. This book follows the career of one extraordinary intellectual and reconstructs the cultural, political and intellectual life of France from the postwar years to the present. It is the story of a man and his time.

Lacan: In Spite Of Everything


Élisabeth Roudinesco - 2011
    Angelic to some, he is demonic to others. To recall Lacan’s career, now that the heroic age of psychoanalysis is over, is to remember an intellectual and literary adventure that occupies a founding place in our modernity. Lacan went against the current of many of the hopes aroused by 1968, but embraced their paradoxes, and his language games and wordplay resonate today as so many injunctions to replace rampant individualism with a heightened social consciousness. Widely recognized as the leading authority on Lacan, Élisabeth Roudinesco revisits his life and work: what it was – and what it remains.

Derrida for Beginners


James N. Powell - 1982
    The following year, Derrida published three brilliant but mystifying books that convinced the pollsters that he was the most important philosopher of the late 20th century. Unfortunately, nobody was sure whether the intellectual movement he spawned—Deconstruction—advanced philosophy or murdered it.The truth?—Derrida is one of those annoying geniuses you can take a class on, read half-a-dozen books by and still have no idea what he's talking about. Derrida's 'writing'—confusing doesn't begin to describe it (it's like he's pulling the rug out from under the rug that he pulled out from under philosophy.) But beneath the confusion, like the heartbeat of a bird in your hand, you can feel Derrida's electric genius. It draws you to it; you want to understand it...but it's so confusing.What you need, Ducky, is Derrida For Beginners™ by James Powell!Jim Powell's Derrida For Beginners™ is the clearest explanation of Derrida and deconstruction presently available in our solar system. Powell guides us through blindingly obscure texts like Of Grammatology (Derrida's deconstruction of Saussure, Lévi-Strauss, Rousseau), "Différence" (his essay on language and life), Dissemination (his dismantling of Plato, his rap on Mallarmé) and Derrida's other masterpieces (the mere titles can make strong men tremble in terror— Glas , Signéponge/Signsponge , The Post Card , and Specters of Marx .Readers will learn the coolest Derridian buzzwords (e.g., intertexuality, binary oppositions, hymen, sous rature, arche-writing, phallogocentrism), the high-and-low-lights of deconstruction's history (including the deMan controversy), and the various criticisms of Derrida and deconstrcution, including Camille Paglia's objection that America, the rock-n-roll nation, isn't formal enough to need deconstruction.The master, however, begs to disagree: "America is Deconstruction" —Jacques Derrida

4 Dada Suicides: Selected Texts of Arthur Cravan, Jacques Rigaut, Julien Torma, and Jacques Vaché


Jacques VachéJacques-Emile Blanche - 1995
    These four took the nihilism of the movement to its ultimate conclusion, their works are remnants of lives lived to the limit and then cast aside with nonchalance and abandon: Vache died of a drug overdose, Rigaut shot himself, Cravan and Torma simply vanished, their fates still a mystery. Yet their fragmentary works - to which they attached so little importance - still exert a powerful allure and were a vital inspiration for the literary movements that followed them. Vache's bitter humour, Cravan's energetic invective, Rigaut's dandyfied introspection, and Torma's imperturbable asperity: all had their influence. This collection contains biographical introductions to each author as well as personal recollections by their contemporaries.

Kafka: A Very Short Introduction


Ritchie Robertson - 2004
    During his lifetime he worked as a civil servant and published only a handful of short stories, the best known being The Transformation. His other three novels, published after his death, helped to found his reputation as a uniquely perceptive interpreter of the twentieth century. Discussing both Kafka's crisis-ridden life and the subtleties of his art, Ritchie Robertson provides an intriguing and accessible look at the life of this fascinating author. Using Metamorphosis as a recurring example, Robertson shows how Kafka's work explores such characteristically modern themes as the place of the body in culture, the power of institutions over people, and the possibility of religion after Nietzsche had proclaimed "the death of God."

The Essays of Montaigne - Volume 02


Michel de Montaigne
    2:I. That Men by Various Ways Arrive at the Same EndII. Of SorrowIII. That our affections carry themselves beyond usIV. That the soul discharges her passions upon false objects, where the true are wantingV. Whether the governor of a place besieged ought himself to go out to parleyVI. That the hour of parley is dangerousVII. That the intention is judge of our actionsVIII. Of idlenessIX. Of liarsX. Of quick or slow speechXI. Of prognosticationsXII. Of constancyThis book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

The Hatred of Music


Pascal Quignard - 1996
    As a musician he organized the International Festival of Baroque Opera and Theatre at Versailles in the early 1990s, and thus was instrumental in the rediscovery of much forgotten classical music. Yet in 1994 he abruptly renounced all musical activities. The Hatred of Music is Quignard’s masterful exploration of the power of music and what history reveals about the dangers it poses.   From prehistoric chants to challenging contemporary compositions, Quignard reflects on music of all kinds and eras. He draws on vast cultural knowledge—the Bible, Greek mythology, early modern history, modern philosophy, the Holocaust, and more—to develop ten accessible treatises on music. In each of these small masterpieces the author exposes music’s potential to manipulate, to mesmerize, to domesticate. Especially disturbing is his scrutiny of the role music played in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Quignard’s provocative book takes on particular relevance today, as we find ourselves surrounded by music as never before in history.

Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art


Jacques Rancière - 2011
    The book comprises a string of dramatic and evocative locales, each embodying specific artistic tendencies and together spanning the modern era--from Dresden in 1764 to New York in 1941. Along the way, we view the Belvedere Torso with Winckelmann, accompany Hegel to the museum and Mallarme to the Folies-Bergere, attend a lecture by Emerson, and visit exhibitions in Paris and New York, factories in Berlin, and film sets in Moscow and Hollywood. Ranciere uses these sites and events--some famous, others forgotten--to ask what becomes art and what comes of it. He shows how a regime of artistic perception and interpretation was constituted and transformed by erasing the distinctions between the different arts along with the borders separating them from ordinary experience.This incisive study provides a history of artistic modernity far removed from conventional understandings of modernism.

The Correspondence of Gustave Flaubert George Sand: Flaubert - Sand


Gustave Flaubert - 1921
    Never have two great writers set down their ideas so candidly and over so long a period of time on the most varied topics, including the genesis of their own writings. The elements of this correspondence been available for over a century, but never in a form accessible the general reader. For this edition, Alphonse Jacob has re-created the atmosphere in which the letters were written and has revived this masterpiece by two of France's greatest novelists: their intimate correspondence.

Proust


Samuel Beckett - 1931
    It is a brilliant work of critical insight that also tells us much about its author's own thinking and preoccupations. In its own right it is a masterpiece of literary and philosophical creative writing. This edition was published in 1999 - ten years after the writer's death. The volume also contains the equally celebrated dialogues with the art critic Georges Duthuit - written to record their different points of view after the discussions took place. Beckett always let Duthuit win, but his very unusual and often opposite point of view on the nature and purpose of art is all the more forceful and memorable on that account.

Derrida: A Biography


Benoît Peeters - 2010
    We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept – deconstruction – takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies.In writing this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over a hundred individuals who knew and worked with Derrida. He is also the first person to make use of the huge personal archive built up by Derrida throughout his life and of his extensive correspondence. Peeters’ book gives us a new and deeper understanding of the man who will perhaps be seen as the major philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century.