“Pierre Guyotat: The Matter of Writing“; by Stephen Barber

  PIERRE GUYOTAT: THE MATTER OF WRITING In 1969, the French literary journal Tel Quel published an extract from Pierre Guyotat’s work in progress, Eden, Eden, Eden, under the title Bordels of Butchery. After the book’s publication in 1970, it was subjected to governmental censorship in France, was reviled by large sections of the Parisian literary establishment, and became one of the great divisive scandals of postwar French writing. The participants of Tel Quel, in collaboration with supporters and associates of Guyotat, mounted a defence of the book. Michel Foucault wrote: ‘Guyotat has written a book in a language of…

Kristin Ross; May ’68 and its Afterlives

Kristin Ross; MAY ’68 AND ITS AFTERLIVES (Full book) During May 1968, students and workers in France united in the biggest strike and the largest mass movement in French history. Protesting capitalism, American imperialism, and Gaullism, 9 million people from all walks of life, from shipbuilders to department store clerks, stopped working. The nation was paralyzed—no sector of the workplace was untouched. Yet, just thirty years later, the mainstream image of May ’68 in France has become that of a mellow youth revolt, a cultural transformation stripped of its violence and profound sociopolitical implications. Kristin Ross shows how the current…

Jacques Rancière; Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy

 Jacques Rancière; Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy (Full book) “Is there any such thing as political philosophy?” So begins this provocative book by one of the foremost figures in Continental thought. Here, Jacques Rancière brings a new an highly useful set of terms to the vexed debate about political effectiveness and “the en of politics.” What precisely is at stake in the relationship between “philosophy” and the adjective “political”? In Disagreement, Rancière explores the apparent contradiction between these terms and reveals the uneasy meaning of their union in the phrase “political philosophy”—a juncture related to age-old attempts in philosophy to answer…

Aimé Césaire; Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (1939)

Translated by A. James Arnold and Clayton Eshleman   1 At the end of the small hours burgeoning with frail coves the hungry Antilles, the Antilles pitted with smallpox, the Antilles dynamited by alcohol, stranded in the mud of this bay, in the dust of this town sinisterly stranded. 2 At the end of the small hours, the extreme, deceptive desolate eschar on the wound of the waters; the martyrs who do not bear witness; the flowers of blood that fade and scatter in the empty wind like the cries of babbling parrots; an aged life mendaciously smiling, its lips…

Aimé Césaire; Discourse on Colonialism

Aimé Césaire; Discours on Colonialism (Full book)   A Poetics of Anticolonialism; by Robin D.G. Kelly Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism might be best described as a declaration of war. I would almost call it a “third world manifesto,” but hesitate because it is primarily a polemic against the old order bereft of the kind of propositions and proposals that generally accompany manifestos. Yet, Discourse speaks in revolutionary cadences, capturing the spirit of its age just as Marx and Engels did 102 years earlier in their little manifesto. First published in 1950 as Discours sur le colonialisme1, it appeared just…

Amelia Rosselli; Poetry and Poetics

  Poetry and Poetics Uncollected   Because I never did die, sepia and self with others was jocund smashed in equal pieces. I write obscure, blissful fog and without sun the sky, floured with wearinesses the monotonies of living by jolts acute and low. 11 March 1995     Note 1967-1968   1/1/67 Intent upon describing the landscape I intruded; gushed from it restless the primary scene: spinning tops, caverns, demystifying scenes. It’s a scene this one that keeps me from thinking while with a machine gun I elegantly mow you all down. What a corvée of madmen! What an…

Jacques Rancière; Althusser’s Lesson

Jacques Rancière, Althusser’s Lesson (Full book) Jacques Rancière’s first major work, Althusser’s Lesson appeared in 1974, just as the energies of May 68 were losing ground to the calls for a return to order. Rancière’s analysis of Althusserian Marxism unfolds against this background: what is the relationship between the return to order and the enthusiasm which greeted the publication of Althusser’s Reply to John Lewis in 1973? How to explain the rehabilitation of a philosophy that had been declared ‘dead and buried on the barricades of May 68’? What had changed? The answer to this question takes the form of…