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The UberReader

Selected Works of Avital Ronell

Diane Davis

Publication Year: 2007

Avital Ronell has put together what must be one of the most remarkable critical oeuvres of our era. . . . Zeugmatically yoking the slang of pop culture with philosophical analysis, forcing the confrontation of high literature and technology or drug culture, Avital Ronell produces sentences that startle, irritate, illuminate. At once hilarious and refractory, her books are like no others.?--Jonathan Culler, Diacritics_x000B__x000B_For twenty years Avital Ronell has stood at the forefront of the confrontation between literary study and European philosophy. She has tirelessly investigated the impact of technology on thinking and writing, with groundbreaking work on Heidegger, dependency and drug rhetoric, intelligence and artificial intelligence, and the obsession with testing. Admired for her insights and breadth of field, she has attracted a wide readership by writing with guts, candor, and wit. _x000B_Coyly alluding to Nietzsches gay science,? The ÃœberReader presents a solid introduction to Avital Ronells later oeuvre. It includes at least one selection from each of her books, two classic selections from a collection of her early essays (Finitudes Score), previously uncollected interviews and essays, and some of her most powerful published and unpublished talks. An introduction by Diane Davis surveys Ronells career and the critical response to it thus far. _x000B_With its combination of brevity and power, this Ronell primer? will be immensely useful to scholars, students, and teachers throughout the humanities, but particularly to graduate and undergraduate courses in contemporary theory. Avital Ronell has put together what must be one of the most remarkable critical oeuvres of our era. . . . Zeugmatically yoking the slang of pop culture with philosophical analysis, forcing the confrontation of high literature and technology or drug culture, Avital Ronell produces sentences that startle, irritate, illuminate. At once hilarious and refractory, her books are like no others."--Jonathan Culler, Diacritics

Published by: University of Illinois Press

front cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. viii


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pp. xiii


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pp. xv

Photo album follows page

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PART I The Call of Technology

Yes, I certainly would, though I might have to pause and explicate the meaning of “post.” Still, I look to technology to affirm those aspects of posthumanism that are more liberatory...

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Delay Call Forwarding

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pp. 5-37

And yet, you’re saying yes, almost automatically, suddenly, sometimes irreversibly. Your picking it up means the call has come through. It means more: you’re its beneficiary, rising to meet its demand, to pay a debt. You don’t know who’s calling or what...

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2. Support Our Tropes: Reading Desert Storm

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pp. 38- 62

going down in history: According to one version, there was a telephone call that did not take place. This is the version of Saddam Hussein. If the Iraqi troops were remarkably immobilized when they were ordered by George Bush to withdraw from Kuwait...

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3. Trauma TV: Twelve Steps Beyond the Pleasure Principle

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pp. 63-88

channel twelve: Ethics has been largely confined to the domains of doing, which include performative acts of a linguistic nature. While we have understood that there is no decision which has not passed through the crucible of undecidability, ethics...

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4. State of the Art: Julia Scher's Disinscription of National Security

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pp. 89-96

When at long last he came out of hiding to offer a word of solace or an official statement of fact, the president of the United States said, “We are being tested.” In the meanwhile the mayor of New York suddenly came alive with language and filled the telecommunicational spaces with quiet grandeur. Both understood that they were being tested...

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PART II Freedom and Obligation: Minority Report on Children, Addicts, Outlaws, and Ghosts

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pp. 97-100

These are questions about naming and location, and in this regard neither term is acceptable. The ivory tower is something that I have never been embraced by, or possibly even seen; it is a phantasm. And “terrorist” would imply a kind...

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5. On the Unrelenting Creepiness of Childhood: Lyotard, Kid-Tested

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pp. 101-127

From Socrates’ predatory urges to Locke’s invention of the “Ideot” or Hegel’s racist assignments—for the moment I shall take this no further—philosophy has demonstrated a need to impound those who could not speak for themselves, who had not reached a certain...

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6. Toward a Narcoanalysis

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pp. 128-140

This work does not accord with literary criticism in the traditional sense. Yet it is devoted to the understanding of a literary work. It could be said to reside within the precincts of philosophical endeavor. Indeed, it tries to understand an object that splits existence into...

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7. Deviant Payback: The Aims of Valerie Solanas

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pp. 141-144

In 1968 Jacques Derrida brought out his pathbreaking essay “The Ends of Man” and Valerie Solanas began earnestly distributing SCUM Manifesto.1 In June of that year she gunned down Andy Warhol as he was speaking on the telephone. These events may seem miles...

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8. Preface to Dictations

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pp. 145-156

The ubiquity of Goethe’s name in the works I was studying at the time, led me, at the merciful end of graduate school, to read most of what he had written. Despite the pious thoroughness of Germanist scholars, Goethe opened the vertiginous experience of a suspended...

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PART III Psyche-Soma: The Finite Body

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pp. 157-160

What I mean by “Oedipedagogy,” briefly, is the way pedagogy is linked to desire but also to the structures of parricidal writing or overcoming your teachers. This intentional dimension...

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9. A Note on the Failure of Man's Custodianship

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pp. 161-167

Never felt to be a natural catastrophe, AIDS has from the start carried the traits of a historical event. If AIDS had been comprehensible only in terms of natural calamity, it would not have called for a critique: you cannot throw a critique at an earthquake, nor can you really complain about the pounding waves of the ocean, not even...

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10. The Disappearance and Returns of the Idiot

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pp. 168-187

Nietzsche, the first modern philosopher to put his body on the line, to write for and with it, prescribing distinct regimens and monitoring cultural habits, if not addictions, shares with Dostoevsky a certain acceptance of that which has been abjected, excreted by the major cultural codifications of corporeal enactment. Both writers perpetually...

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11. the Philosophical Code Dennis Cooper's Pacific Rim

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pp. 188-200

In an era that understands the reduction of subjectivity to a thumbprint or a medical record, not to speak of a police profile, Dennis Cooper captures the subworld that has slithered by metaphysics and that could not be accounted for by traditional notions of beauty and identity. Clearly marked by events that bind us—but also pressed...

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PART IV Danke! et Adieu: On Hookups and Breakups

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pp. 201-204

made these remarks on community in the context of the Gulf War with its attendant overestimation of virtual reality. This thought comes from the works of Heidegger, Freud, and Levinas—and, obviously, from Derrida as well. As Heidegger and Freud in their own ways posted, there has been too much...

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12. The Sacred Alien: Heidegger's Reading of Holderlin's "Andenken"

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pp. 205-226

Geh aber nun und grüsse” (Yet, go now and greet). I would like to devote myself tonight to a moment in the unprecedented testimony of Hölderlin’s late thought—to that moment in which Hölderlin named the modern experience of mourning. While Heidegger’s later work and many Heideggerian discourses appear to be characterized...

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13. On Friendship; Or, Kathy Goes to Hell

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pp. 227-239

When I first met Acker, it was as if memory, mother of the Muses, had been engaged in advance. I had already read her, begun the process of introjection according to a private transferential bureaucracy of self. There was something ass backwards about our encounter, which occurred as a kind of material extension of a friendship...

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14. Loving Your Enemy

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pp. 240-254

I give up; I surrender. I yield without hesitation to the incomprehensibility of what is taking us down at this time. In the epoch and text of Hegel war meant something. It was productive of sense: the future was counted in, and depended on the way the...

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PART V The Fading Empire of Cognition

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pp. 255-258

It was Deleuze who named the future necessity of reading stupidity, and a transcendental stupidity, asking, What are the conditions for the possibility of stupidity? He said that philosophy...

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15. Slow Learner

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pp. 259-292

The temptation is to wage war on stupidity as if it were a vanquishable object— as if we still knew how to wage war or circumscribe an object in a manner that would be productive of meaning or give rise to futurity. One could not easily imagine circumstances in which an agency of state or government, even a U.S. government, would declare...

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16. The Experimental Disposition: Nietzsche's Discovery of America (Or, Why the Present Administration Sees Everything in Terms of a Test)

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pp. 293-306

We do not always know how to calculate the importance of a work. In some cases, there is nothing even to guarantee that the work will arrive. Some works seem to set an ETA—there is a sense that it will take them years to make their arrangements, overcome...

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17. Koan Practice of Taking Down the Test

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pp. 307-323

Testing the limit. In the interview accorded to Salomon Malka, Levinas announces, “I prefer the word épreuve to expérience because in the word expérience a knowing of which the self is master is always said. In the word épreuve there is at once the...

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18. "Is It Happening?"

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pp. 324-328

You’re making it up, you’re faking it, you can’t prove it! As cruel and common as they are, these statements offend not only because they come from a hostile or institutionally appointed space of contestation. They belong to another curl of conspiratorial anguish. The...


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pp. 329-343

back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252092299
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252030666

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2007

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Popular culture -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Avant-garde (Aesthetics) -- United States.
  • Literature, Modern -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
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