The years of letter writing between Simone de Beauvoir and Nelson Algren correspond to the period of Simone de Beauvoir's perhaps most important intellectual production. During these years she wrote The Second Sex, The Mandarins, and her important essay on de Sade, besides numerous essays for Les Temps Modernes. In this essay I will argue that the relationship between the daily activity of letter writing in a foreign language in which de Beauvoir is able to invent herself and hear herself in a sustained fashion in a different tongue, syntax and fantasy space, allows for the emergence of Simone de Beauvoir's most challenging philosophical work. The article hopes to contribute a reading of what has come to be classified as simply "a transatlantic affair," as a writing constellation that tells us more about the relationship between critical thought, self-constitution, and philosophical production in modernity than previously considered.
This article shows the relation between the philosophy of Hannah Arendt and that of Simone de Beauvoir. It argues that both Arendt and Beauvoir are innovators in what was later to become known as the critique of the political and the personal and proposes a reevaluation of both by examining the question of style in the history of philosophy.
An assessment of the roles of atheism, rationalism, and religious inspiration in the works of Corneille (Athalie, Cinna, Esther, Phèdre, Polyeucte, Discours, Imitation de Jésus Christ), in those of his contemporaries, and also in nineteenth/twentieth-century critical and historical thought concerning the importance of Roman Stoic philosophy (scintilla animae, synderesis) and Christian theology for Jesuit theater and Early Modern French literature generally. This article proposes new connection between Corneille's Imitation de Jésus and Cinna that proves the former's direct pertinence for the latter and sheds new light on critical debates concerning dramatized conversion narratives in French Classical theater.
Literature -- History and criticism -- Theory, etc.
Testimony, confession, "reality TV": everywhere, we dream of referential contact. Against the context of this impossible dream, this paper considers the vision of aesthetic communication offered by Georges Bataille, which both demands contact between author and reader, and renders this contact unjustifiable. Bataille's practice as author is analysed along these lines, with particular reference to Histoire de l'il and related discussions by Jean-Luc Nancy and Michel Leiris. The conclusion is drawn that, while such contact can never be guaranteed, nor can it be definitively ruled out. Perhaps, after all, communication cannot altogether be separated from the possibility of contact?
Bataille, Georges, 1897-1962 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Poetry -- History and criticism.
An exploration of the essential similarities between what Georges Bataille conceptualizes as "non-knowledge" and as "modern poetry". Bataille's thought is focused around a fundamental denunciation of the fallacies of modern poetry. His "a-theology" is inherently "anti-poetic": its excesses depend on a transgression of poetry's restricted economy and its "inner experience" is contingent upon negating its language--carrying out its silent "ecstasy". It would be logical then to assume that non-knowledge is poetry negated. Yet, when Bataille defines modern poetry, he describes its privileged transgressions in terms identical to those used for defining the experience of non-knowledge: its experiments are said to be sacred variations of a common "inner experience"; its excesses, language's "ecstasy". It is thus very difficult to understand what, if any, are the difference between poetry and non-knowledge.
Beaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de, 1732-1799. Deux amis.
Ethics in literature.
An exploration of the self-delusional structures in Beaumarchais's bourgeois drama Les Deux amis, that support the iniquities engendered by commerce in mid-eighteenth-century Lyon. At the dawn of capitalistic enterprise, the protagonist of the drame bourgeois suspends knowledge of his own rapaciousness by emphatically cultivating a stance of selfless virtue as he pursues his commercial interests. It is the paradox of the genre that the very attempt to depict the nascent merchant class in France as a salutary alternative to a lazy and selfish nobility reveals the mechanisms of disavowal upon which the businessman's "disinterested" virtues are predicated, and gestures toward the unseemly economic realities from which its heroes avert their eyes.
Cet article étudie le fonctionnement du réductionnisme condillacien depuis la théorie du sensible jusqu'à la théorie du langage. Il tente de comprendre comment Condillac, dans sa théorie des idées, fait fonctionner ensemble la méthode analytique qui permet de décomposer les entités complexes en éléments simples et la méthode génétique qui permet de suivre le développement des idées. L'article montre comment cette analyse génétique condillacienne, largement adoptée par les Lumières, permet de construire un passage entre le connu et l'inconnu, le complexe et le simple, le neuf et l'ancien.
In The Literary Absolute, the authors narrowly define German Romanticism as Friedrich Schlegel's (et al's) Athenaeum Fragments, arguing that the Jena circle worked in this sensible, intuitional genre to complete the Kantian subject in a Darstellung of the subject's freedom. In the event, however, they encountered the free force of existence that radically unworked the very Work they strove to complete and left them speechless before the Ereignis they inaugurated. This book would repeat Romanticism, this time setting a proper measure on the experience of freedom: "désvrement," Blanchot's interminable interruption that threatens Lacoue-Labarthe's and Nancy's entire program with utter ruin.
The works of Michel Foucault often disappoint those who are approaching it from a solid disciplinary basis. In this paper I will argue that if the attempt to interpret Foucault's work from the standpoint of a certain academic discipline, be it philosophy or history, may lead to ambiguous consequences, then there is still a possibility to consider it from an interdisciplinary point of view. I will indicate two aspects of Foucault's interdisciplinary thinking. First, the problematization that he himself calls the "history of the present", then an outcome of this practice that I would like to call the "historical modelling" of the human condition.