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Very Little ... Almost Nothing : Death, Philosophy and Literature - Simon Critchley

Very Little ... Almost Nothing

Death, Philosophy and Literature

Paperback

Published: 20th May 2004
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Very Little ... Almost Nothing puts the question of the meaning of life back at the centre of intellectual debate. Its central concern is how we can find a meaning to human finitude without recourse to anything that transcends that finitude. A profound but secular meditation on the theme of death, Critchley traces the idea of nihilism through Blanchot, Levinas, Jena Romanticism and Cavell, culminating in a reading of Beckett, in many ways the hero of the book.
In this second edition, Simon Critchley has added a revealing and extended new preface, and a new chapter on Wallace Stevens which reflects on the idea of poetry as philosophy.

"This is a very brave book ... it makes philosophical conversation possible again after two decades of pragmatist intolerance." -Roger Poole, Parallax "(T)his is an often beautifully written philosophical act of mourning ... It also commands respect because it obliges one to examine the fictions one employs to avoid really doing philosophy. Critchley's steadfastly post-Kantian rejection of theological answers to the questions he asks is very welcome." -Andrew Bowie, Radical Philosophy ..."manages with some aplomb, to pull off the extraordinarily difficult task of saying something new and interesting about Beckett and Blanchot." -Martin McQuillan, New Formations "Critchley keeps his writings for the most part powerful and elegant, wide-ranging but well-focussed. The book is at all times sibylline, moving, insightful, explorative." -Colin Davis, French Studies "Simon Critchley's readings of Schlegel, Blanchot and Beckett are remarkably nuanced and perceptive. Much more than an excellent companion to the study of the intertwinings of philosophy and literature, it is an admirable meditation on the ubiquity of finitude and its ungraspability." -Jacques Taminiaux, Boston College

Abbreviationsp. xi
Preface to Second Edition: As my father, I have already diedp. xv
Preamble: Travels in Nihilonp. 1
Philosophy begins in disappointmentp. 2
Pre-Nietzschean nihilismp. 4
Nietzschean nihilismp. 8
Responding to nihilism: five possibilitiesp. 11
Heidegger's transformation of Nietzschean nihilismp. 15
Heidegger contra Jungerp. 18
Impossible redemption: Adorno on nihilismp. 21
Learning how to die--the argumentp. 29
Il y ap. 35
Reading Blanchotp. 35
How is literature possible?p. 40
Orpheus, or the law of desirep. 48
Blanchot's genealogy of morals: exteriority as desire, exteriority as lawp. 52
Il y a--the origin of the artworkp. 56
first slope--Hegel avec Sadep. 57
second slope--a fate worse than deathp. 63
ambiguity--Blanchot's secretp. 71
The (im)possibility of death--or, how would Blanchot read Blanchot if he were not Blanchot?p. 77
Holding Levinas's hand to Blanchot's firep. 85
a dying futurep. 85
atheist transcendencep. 89
Unworking romanticismp. 99
Our naivetep. 99
Kantian fragmentationp. 102
deepest naivete--political romanticismp. 105
Hegel, Schlegelp. 110
romantic modernityp. 113
Digression I: Imagination as resistance (Wallace Stevens)p. 114
Romantic ambiguityp. 123
the fragmentp. 125
wit and ironyp. 131
the non-romantic essence of romanticismp. 135
Cavell's 'romanticism'p. 138
the romanticization of everyday lifep. 138
Emerson as the literary absolutep. 141
Digression II: Why Stanley loves America and why we should toop. 147
Cavell's romanticismp. 154
I live my scepticismp. 155
Cavell's tragic wisdomp. 157
finiteness, limitednessp. 161
Know happiness--on Beckettp. 165
Beckett and philosophical interpretationp. 165
The dredging machine (Derrida)p. 169
The meaning of meaninglessness and the paradoxical task of interpretation (Adorno I)p. 172
Hope against hope--the elevation of social criticism to the level of form (Adorno II)p. 181
Nothing is funnier than unhappiness--Beckett's laughter (Adorno III)p. 184
Storytime, time of death (Molloy, Malone Dies)p. 188
My old aporetics--the syntax of weakness (The Unnameable)p. 195
Who speaks? Not I (Blanchot)p. 202
No happiness? (Cavell)p. 207
The philosophical significance of a poem--on Wallace Stevensp. 215
Notesp. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 270
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415340496
ISBN-10: 0415340497
Series: Warwick Studies in European Philosophy
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 276
Published: 20th May 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.7 x 14.2  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: New edition