Cover

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pp. c-ii

Title Page, Copyright, Frontispieces

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pp. iii-x

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

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Translator's Foreword

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pp. xiii-xxi

The French title of Jean-Luc Nancy’s book on books is Sur le commerce des pensées. I found myself obliged to render the plural pensées, with its echoes of Pascal and the rest (although perhaps...

Author's Introduction

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pp. xxii-xxii

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On the Commerce of Thinking Of Books and Bookstores

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pp. 1-7

The veritable property of the book, its virtus operativa or vis magica, or what we would have to call its librarity, is to be found nowhere if not in the relation it establishes and maintains between its opening and...

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The Idea and Character of the Book

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pp. 8-12

If the Idea, in the acceptation that Plato conferred on the term, designates the veritable and intelligible Form — accomplished in its essence — of such and such a thing or reality (the Idea of man, of...

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The Book’s End in Itself

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pp. 13-15

That is why, if the book is printed, the essence of its impression consists in the communication, resonance, and dissemination — all the way to dispersion, metamorphosis, and reinterpretation — of a...

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The People of the Book

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pp. 16-21

“Read me!” “Read me!” — that order or proposition occupies a major place in our culture, for we are those who, in one of our holy books, have designated ourselves people of the Book. “Read!” is what...

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Interminable Reading

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pp. 22-26

For that reason, painting has, during its history, given such a privileged place to the subjects of the book and reading. The man reading, the woman reading, the male or female bookworm, reciter, or...

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The Publication of the Unpublished

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pp. 27-30

As a matter of principle, the book is illegible, and it calls for or commands reading in the name of that illegibility. Illegibility is not a question of what is too badly formed, crossed out, scribbled: the illegible is...

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Book Open and Closed

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pp. 31-37

That is why the book opens and closes, why its being a(s) book, its precarious and dazzling truth, resides in the internal conjunction and disjunction of that alternation: it opens and closes on the...

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The Scents of the Bookstore

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pp. 38-42

Once opened, the book reveals how insubstantial it is. The substance, subordinate, or subject doesn’t really disappear, but rather is unfolded and disassembled, although continuing to hold together...

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The Commerce of Thinking

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pp. 43-45

But the book that is thrown into the depths of such a bookstore, magazine of traces, imprints and reminiscences — the bookstore whose other, the shop on the street, is in sum nothing but an inverted...

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The Matter of Books

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pp. 46-48

Perhaps what we name thus is only the name and the idea, its ideal, its ideality, the pure scription of an available truth sealed with a clasp of ink and paper. Perhaps there is never anywhere, all...

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Electronic Supplement, Binary Reprise, Digital Counterpoint

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pp. 49-57

Liber: membrane occurring between bark and wood, between cortex and lignum, between exposed thought and knotty intimacy, interface between outside and inside, itself neither outside nor inside, turned toward...

Notes

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pp. 58-59