In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Homages to Michel Serres (1930 – 2019)
  • Introduction
  • The Editors of SubStance

Michel Serres was a fellow traveler of the SubStance editorial collective and their projects for well over three decades. The Journal first published one of his articles in 1973, “India (The Black and the Archipelago) on Fire,” and was privileged to welcome ten of his texts into our pages over the years, culminating in “Feux et signaux de brume: Virginia Woolf’s Lighthouse” in 2008. A special issue devoted to Serres’s thought, Ecology of Knowledge: Michel Serres, appeared in the journal in 1997. Serres’s eclectic, encyclopedic approach to knowledge, his refusal of disciplinary boundaries and fads, and his particular rigor as a thinker matched the convictions of the editors of SubStance and made him a natural ally and friend of the journal, someone whose presence is also visible in work published by the editors themselves. Michel Serres’s death is mourned by SubStance, because the suggestive richness of his perspectives is rare indeed, and it has given us the courage to explore and to discover: his tacit and active support over the years has left indelible traces. Although he has disappeared, he leaves behind a legacy and a set of questions that will continue to energize our own work with an urgency now highlighted by planetary crises, which he presciently and passionately addressed decades ago. We honor his memory with a series of brief texts by thinkers for whom his work has been particularly important.


  • Noëlle Batt

  • David F. Bell

  • Sydney Levy

  • Keith Moser

  • William Paulson

  • Michel Pierssens

  • Pierre Saint-Amand

  • Brian Treanor

  • Christopher Watkin

  • Janell Watson [End Page 3]

Bibliography of SubStance articles by Michel Serres (in chronological order):

“India (The Black and the Archipelago) on Fire.” Translated by Carl R. Lovitt, SubStance, vol. 3, issue 8, Winter 1973–74, pp. 49–60. JSTOR,
“Exact and Human.” SubStance, vols. 6 & 7, issue 21, Winter 1978–79, pp. 9–19. JSTOR,
“Noise.” Translated by Lawrence R. Schehr, Determinism, special issue of SubStance, vol. 12, no. 3, issue 40, 1983, pp. 48–60. JSTOR,
“Stakes, Fetishes, Merchandise.” Translated by Raymond Federman, SubStance, vol. 14, no. 1, issue 46, 1985, pp. 3–31. JSTOR,
“Literature and the Exact Sciences.” Translated by Roxanne Lapidus, SubStance, vol. 18, no. 2, issue 59, 1989, pp. 3–34. JSTOR,
“Anaximander: A Founding Name in History.” Translated by Roxanne Lapidus, Epistémocritique, special issue of SubStance, vol. 22, no. 2/3, issue 71/72, 1993, pp. 266–273. JSTOR,
“Knowing and Believing: A Dialogue.” Translated by Roxanne Lapidus, Between Science and Literature, special issue of SubStance, vol. 23, no. 2, issue 74, 1994, pp. 49–55. JSTOR,
“Science and the Humanities: The Case of Turner.” Translated by Catherine Brown and William Paulson, Ecology of Knowledge: Michel Serres, special issue of SubStance, vol. 26, no. 2, issue 83, 1997, pp. 6–21. JSTOR,
“I. Bryce-Hell, II. Fontenelle, Troubadour of Knowledge.” Translated by Roxanne Lapidus, Celebrating Issue #100, special issue of SubStance, vol. 32, no. 1, issue 100, 2003, pp. 56–59. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/sub.2003.0027
Feux et Signaux de Brume: Virginia Woolf’s Lighthouse.” Translated by Judith Adler, SubStance, vol. 37, no. 2, issue 116, 2008, pp. 110–131. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/sub.0.0011
  • Michel Serres: the written text/the spoken text
  • Noëlle Batt (bio)

The written text and the spoken text were not one and the same thing in the case of Michel Serres.

I had the opportunity to experience that difference on a summer day in 1992 when his Chinese assistant helped me find in his house in Vincennes the text that Serres had delivered a few months earlier at a conference on Epistemocriticism and Cognition organized by Michel Pierssens, myself, the American journal SubStance, the French journal TLE (Théorie Literature Enseignement/Epistémologie), and the research groups associated with them.1...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 3-44
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.