Infancy-and-history-1050st
9781844675715-frontcover
Infancy and History
On the Destruction of Experience
by Giorgio Agamben Translated by Liz Heron
Part of the Radical Thinkers series
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Paperback
Paperback
$15.95$7.9850% off
167 pages / January 2007 / 9781844675715
A profound meditation on language and philosophy, nature and culture, and the birth of the subject.

How and why did experience and knowledge become separated? Is it possible to talk of an infancy of experience, a “dumb” experience? For Walter Benjamin, the “poverty of experience” was a characteristic of modernity, originating in the catastrophe of the First World War. For Giorgio Agamben, the Italian editor of Benjamin’s complete works, the destruction of experience no longer needs catastrophes: daily life in any modern city will suffice.

Agamben’s profound and radical exploration of language, infancy, and everyday life traces concepts of experience through Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Benveniste. In doing so he elaborates a theory of infancy that throws new light on a number of major themes in contemporary thought: the anthropological opposition between nature and culture; the linguistic opposition between speech and language; the birth of the subject and the appearance of the unconscious. Agamben goes on to consider time and history; the Marxist notion of base and superstructure (via a careful reading of the famous Adorno–Benjamin correspondence on Baudelaire’s Paris); and the difference between rituals and games.

Beautifully written, erudite and provocative, these essays will be of great interest to students of philosophy, linguistics, anthropology and politics.

Reviews

“Giorgio Agamben is possibly the most delicate and probing thinker since Walter Benjamin.”

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