Saturday, May 8, 2010

Some of my best friends are... French

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously, and some few
to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
~ Sir Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Alban (1561-1626) ~

I've only begun to read Foucault in the last two years. Through my graduate coursework and due to the recommendations of friends in other disciplines I've begun to read some of the other great mid to late twentieth century French philosopher, social-scientist, cultural questioner types.

Some of my favorites include (and I use the term "favorites" loosely since I don't really know these authors that deeply) Gaston Bachelard, Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida and the Romanian born (though he often wrote in French) Emil Cioran. What all of these men share is a concern with the aspects of language and human-being-ness that are hidden. The very greatest revelations about existence are to be discovered in the quotidian (everyday) objects, thoughts, taken-for-granted experiences. Everything must be questioned, held in the palm of one's hands, turned this way and that way, and felt in a new way.

Such is difficult. Such is dangerous. Such is a doorway.

Here are some by the above from my own library. Heavy duty stuff and certainly more understandable if read in French- I assume.

I assume a lot... Don't we all?

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