Publication Year: 2009
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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Reading Ronell. The simple title names an arduous task—a “mission,” we could say—that is already underway, in medias res, skipping the preliminaries. But what would it take to begin? How might one approach an oeuvre explicitly designed to...
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I address you, Avital. I address myself to you, the living, the vivacious, the vital. But I’m also addressing Abital, wife of David, mother of Shephatiah, whose name is also written as Avital, which is a man’s name and which means “father of the...
Ronell as Gay Scientist
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Of course, Ronell is reading Nietzsche throughout The Test Drive, so if we decide to focus on this reading, we will find that it defies our focus, because Nietzsche might be said to disperse himself throughout her text.1 There is, however, a juncture...
The Courage of the Critic: Avital Ronell and the Idea of Emergence
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Few propositions of modern philosophy are as famous or memorable as the one with which Kant begins his “Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” This proposition contains in nuce the answer to the question: “Enlightenment...
Conference Call: Ronell, Heidegger, Oppen
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The Telephone Book cannot call for understanding the way a clearly delineated object might ask for it. But this much I can glean: Heidegger answered a (telephone) call that involved him in Nazism. As we know, he never clarified or...
Take Me to Your Reader
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At some mid-career point in the series of my horror film class at UC Santa Barbara, I thought it was time to check out the current scholarship. Because cultural studies had started running its commentary all over the place abandon...
Uncalled: A Commentary on Kafka's "The Test"
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The philosophical and religious texts of the European tradition know only a world that follows a call, a world called forth and called on to do something, in which everything has a vocation and everything is addressed as that which it is. They declare, either explicitly or implicitly, every other to be impossible. A short text by Franz Kafka...
Avital Ronell's Body Politics
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In a certain sense, one might begin by saying “she told us so,” but perhaps we did not hear her well enough. For a long time now, over many years and in her many important works ranging from the early Dictations to the most recent...
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WAR for AR is primary. This should not come as a surprise. AR knows WAR. Which does not mean that she brings or bears some prophetic utterance, the moving image of a road warrior to come, nor that she asks us to reflect on war’s future...
The Indefinite Article or the Love of a Phrase
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The love in question, we should recall, addresses not just language as such, or words in isolation, but phrases like “une fois pour toutes,” which I have been translating, all too approximately, as “once and for all.” The question is all the more pertinent, because...
Learning Impossibility: Pedagogy, Aporia, Ethics
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Even if inaudible, this question perhaps attends every textual encounter. Before May I read you? or Do I read you?, before even before, this: Can I read you? For even if I do read you, it is not certain that “I can read you”— each term in that locution...
Testing Existence, Exacting Thought: Reading Ronell with Deleuze
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In Spinoza: Practical Philosoph, Gilles Deleuze writes that “existence is a test.” He immediately adds: “But it is a physical or chemical test, an experimentation, the contrary of Judgment. . . . The physical-chemical test of states constitutes...
The Problems of a Generation or Thinking and Thanking Zwang AND Drang
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A work, no matter how recondite, specialized, or antiquarian, manifests a historical compulsion. Of course, we no longer exist in a way that renders manifestation possible: we have lost access to what is manifested and to manifestation itself...
Roaming (Dis)Charges: "Catastrophe of the Liquid Oozing"
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One can approach Avital Ronell as a political scientist of memory transmission whose performative forays—at plague-centers within a grand mal d’archive—negotiate a different relation to the catastrophic. There are vapors one encounters in this prose, drugs without names of the sort that concern AR, and one enters corridors...
"Vectorizing Our Thoughts Toward 'Current Events'": For Avital Ronell
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In Ingo Schulze’s 1999 text “Handy,” published in English as “Cell Phone,” the narrator, who will remain nameless throughout the story, and his wife Constanze have rented a bungalow near Berlin, in the village of Prieros, for their summer vacation. The same day that Constanze has been unexpectedly called back to...
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Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009