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Jacques Derrida

Judith Butler: Commemorating ‘one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century’, 4 November 2004

... Jabès (1991), Louis Marin (1992), Sarah Kofman (1994), Emmanuel Levinas (1995) and Jean-François Lyotard (1998). In the last of these essays, for Lyotard, it is not his own death that preoccupies him, but rather his ‘debts’. These are authors that he could not do without, ones with and through whom he thinks. He writes ...

Exhibitionists

Hal Foster: Curation, 3 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... had ambiguous consequences, which might be captured by way of a statement made by Jean-François Lyotard – ‘the exhibition is a postmodern dramaturgy’ – on the occasion of his 1985 show at the Centre Pompidou, Les Immatériaux, which Obrist regards as another landmark. (The press release suggests the flavour of the event: ‘A whirlwind of stopped ...

Return of the real

A.D. Nuttall, 23 April 1992

Uncritical Theory: Post-Modernism, Intellectuals and the Gulf War 
by Christopher Norris.
Lawrence and Wishart, 218 pp., £9.99, February 1992, 0 85315 752 9
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... The villains in this book are Jean Baudrillard, Richard Rorty, Stanley Fish, Jean-François Lyotard and Michel Foucault, closely followed, as we shall see, by Presidents Reagan and Bush, Margaret Thatcher and John Major. The heroes are – well, Derrida, of course, but above all Noam Chomsky, here exalted especially because of his sturdily rationalist ...

Allergic to Depths

Terry Eagleton: Gothic, 18 March 1999

Gothic: Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Fourth Estate, 438 pp., £20, December 1998, 1 85702 498 2
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... And if consensus is the tyranny of the majority, as it seems to be for, say, Jean-François Lyotard, then there can be no radical consensus either. Since most purveyors of this wisdom pride themselves on their historicising cast of mind, it is ironic that they fail to see in it a reflection of the particular social conditions of modernity. For Samuel ...

Some Versions of Narrative

Christopher Norris, 2 August 1984

Hermeneutics: Questions and Prospects 
edited by Gary Shapiro and Alan Sica.
Massachusetts, 310 pp., February 1984, 0 87023 416 1
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The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge 
by Jean-Francois Lyotard, translated by Geoff Bennington, Brian Massumi and Fredric Jameson.
Manchester, 110 pp., £23, August 1984, 0 7190 1450 6
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Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction 
by William Ray.
Blackwell, 228 pp., £17.50, April 1984, 0 631 13457 3
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The Philosophy of the Novel: Lukacs, Marxism and the Dialectics of Form 
by J.M. Bernstein.
Harvester, 296 pp., £25, February 1984, 0 7108 0011 8
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Criticism and Objectivity 
by Raman Selden.
Allen and Unwin, 170 pp., £12.50, April 1984, 9780048000231
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... the end, not only of an academic discipline, but of critical intelligence as such. Readers of Jean-Francois Lyotard’s La Condition Postmoderne (1979) will recognise this call for an end to meta-narratives. It was always implicit in Rorty’s arguments, but comes into focus more clearly now that he appeals to ...

Dolls, Demons and DNA

Barbara Herrnstein Smith: Bruno Latour, 8 March 2012

On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods 
by Bruno Latour.
Duke, 157 pp., £12.99, March 2011, 978 0 8223 4825 2
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... this regard, he has little but ill to say about the contemporary figures, such as Jean-François Lyotard and Jacques Derrida, whom he identifies as postmoderns. Latour’s account of the strictly contingent reality of scientific entities and the highly conditional but not merely subjective reality of demons and divinities puts him at odds not only with ...

Does a donkey have to bray?

Terry Eagleton: The Reality Effect, 25 September 2008

Accident: A Philosophical and Literary History 
by Ross Hamilton.
Chicago, 342 pp., £18, February 2008, 978 0 226 31484 6
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... class’s endless fascination with the bric-à-brac of its own existence – what Jean-François Lyotard once dismissed as its ‘pornographic appetite for the real’. In Tristram Shandy, the accidental wreaks its hilarious vengeance on rationalist concepts of necessity. Novels, to be sure, must be more than chapters of accidents if their moral lessons are ...

What We Have

David Bromwich: Tarantinisation, 4 February 1999

The Origins of Postmodernity 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 143 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 222 4
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The Cultural Turn: Selected Writings on the Postmodern, 1983-98 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 206 pp., £11, September 1998, 1 85984 182 1
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... is a common feature in the work of several former evangelists, most conspicuously Jean-François Lyotard, who said in a late interview about The Postmodern Condition: ‘I made up stories, I referred to a quantity of books I’d never read, apparently it impressed people.’ And yet when Lyotard wrote, ‘Development is ...

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