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Rhapsody for the Theatre

“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!” —Slavoj Žižek
For Alain Badiou, theatre—unlike cinema—creates a space in which philosophy can be lived. It is, of all the arts, the most closely related to politics: both depend on a limited number of texts or statements, which are collectively enacted by a group of actors or militants who test the limits of the structure inn which they are confined, be it the medium of drama or the nation-state. For this reason, the history of theatre is inseparable from the history of state repression and censorship.

This definitive collection of Badiou's work on the theatre includes not only the title essay "Rhapsody for the Theatre," originally published as a pamphlet in France, but also essay on Jean-Paul Sartre, on the political destiny of contemporary drama, and on Badiou's own work as a playwright.

Reviews

  • “A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”
  • “An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser.”
  • “Badiou has been an intellectual hero of France's anti-capitalist left since the Paris street protests of 1968.”
  • “Important chapters in what [Badiou] has called inaesthetics, philosophy's attempt to think the truth of art.”

Blog

  • Alain Badiou, No Limit

    Philippe Douroux's report from Alain Badiou's final seminar was first published in Libération. Translated by David Broder. 



    His audience was there. 280 people in front of him, and thirty others in the hall before a screen, on the lookout for others leaving so that they too could enter the "cave" and face the master. An equal mix of men and women, the old and the young — mainly older, it should be said. None of them are dressed eccentrically, though there are sometimes some flashes of colour like orange or yellow trousers, or a bright yellow scarf with Indian motifs, doubtless a hangover of the 1970s. At the moment that everyone was about to go their separate ways, soon before midnight that evening, he even earned a standing ovation. That tells us how fervent his audience is.

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  • Alain Badiou: Reflections on the Recent Election

    On November 9th, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. Alain Badiou responded in a talk at the University of California, Los Angeles, co-sponsored by the pro­gram in Exper­i­ment­al Crit­ic­al The­ory and the Center for European and Rus­si­an Stud­ies. Below we share the transcript of his response, originally published at Mariborchan — an eloquent reflection not only on the specific events that unfolded last week, but on the situation of the world today.


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  • Corrupting the Youth: A Conversation with Alain Badiou

    At 79 years of age the philosopher Alain Badiou surveys the youth: the youth whom liberalism has left without a compass, the youth tempted by Daesh, and so, too, his own youth, marked by communism, to which he remains faithful. Interview by Juliette Cerf for Télérama. Translation by David Broder


    Photo by Jean-François Gornet. Via Flickr. 

    In Alain Badiou’s essay published in the wake of the 13 November Paris killings, "Notre mal vient de plus loin," he puts things directly: "Our ills today come from the historic failure of communism."

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Other books by Alain Badiou