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Rupture

On the Emergence of the Political

Paul Eisenstein and Todd McGowan

In a radical reconsideration of political theory and politics, Paul Eisenstein and Todd McGowan explore the notion of rupture or radical tearing apart in both history and theory through the sweep of Western philosophy from Plato to Kierkegaard and beyond. The authors use contemporary literature and film to elucidate political theory, examining works by such writers are Dave Eggers, John Irving, and Toni Morrison, as well as films by directors from Sergei Eisenstein to David Fincher.

Paul Eisenstein and Todd McGowan find that a rupture or radical break is repeatedly invoked at the beginning of every philosophical system. In this rupture, many of our most cherished political values—equality, solidarity, and the idea of freedom—emerge. But the lack of a sustained commitment to this radical tearing apart has repeatedly foreshortened, distorted, or perverted those same values. Most political philosophy may have marginalized these radical breaks with the past. But Eisenstein and McGowan demonstrate that Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, and Slavoj Žižek have consistently brought rupture to the fore as an organizing principle for political thought. This insight holds great pertinence to our current world situation. Seeing the possibilities for an extended dialogue and sustained political change, Eisenstein and McGowan argue for a more systematic engagement with these theorists.

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Sacrifice in the Modern World

On the Particularity and Generality of Nazi Myth

David Pan

This is an extremely exciting manuscript—path-breaking, bold, and comprehensive—that could be received in the intellectual world as a major theoretical statement, while also representing an insightful treatment of a specific cultural historical moment (Nazi Germany) but also key intellectual lineages that surround it. There's a lot at stake here, in the big picture (the question of sacrifice and the interpretation of Germany) as well as in the many rich building blocks of the argument (the treatments of Kant, Nietzsche, Adorno, Bataille, Girard, etc.).

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The Thought of John Sallis

Phenomenology, Plato, Imagination

Bernard Freydberg

John Sallis is one of America’s preeminent and most original contemporary philosophers. The absence, until now, of a com-prehensive work on Sallis has constituted a glaring oversight in philosophical scholarship. The Thought of John Sallis is both an introduction for students new to his work and a valuable resource for scholars needing a systematic consideration of Sallis’s wide-ranging thought.

Sallis’s work possesses an intrinsic power and originality, as well as deep interpretive insight. This book is a descriptive and critical journey through his thought, providing an overview for readers who wish to gain a sense of its sweep, along with discrete sections on particular philosophical disciplines for readers whose interests are more specific. It grapples with the challenges Sallis’s thought presents, making them explicit and opening them up to further consideration. And it attempts to locate his thought within both contemporary continental philosophy and philosophy as a whole. Essential for any student of continental philosophy, The Thought of John Sallis expounds on his work in a manner that increases access, honors its depth, and opens up unexplored possibilities for phil-osophy.

 

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Vita Nova

Dante Alighieri, translated by Andrew Frisardi

Dante’s Vita Nova (circa 1292–1295) depicts the joys and sorrows, the discoveries and conflicts of Dante’s early love for Beatrice—who would achieve later and even greater fame in Commedia—starting with his first sighting of her and culminating in his prevision of Beatrice among the beatified in heaven. Award-winning translator and poet Andrew Frisardi channels the vigor and nuance of Dante’s first masterpiece for a modern audience.

The “little book,” as Dante calls it, consists of thirty-one lyric po­ems—mostly sonnets—embedded in a prose narrative, which both re­counts an apparently autobiographical set of events also evoked in the poems and offers analysis of the poems’ construction in the medieval critical tradition of divisio textus, or division of the text. Dante selected poetry he had written before age twenty-eight or so and wrote the prose to shape it into a story. The poems anthologize Dante’s growth as a poet, from the influence of his earliest mentors to the stylistic and thematic breakthroughs of his poetic coming-of-age.

The interplay of poetry and prose in Vita Nova, along with the fur­ther distinction in the latter between autobiography and critical divisioni, presents a particular challenge for any translator. Frisardi faithfully voices the complex meter and rhyme schemes of the poetry while capturing the tone of each of the prose styles. His introduction and in-depth annotations provide additional context for the twenty-first-century reader.

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