Thursday, October 11, 2007

outside Badiou

Having once posted about the cover of a book, rather than the inside, it is hard not to continue doing so. In this case, the next book I’m reading for the theory class: the 2005 English translation of Alain Badiou’s Being and Event (since it’s a nice indication of a book’s popularity: it is currently priced to sell at just under $15 on I’m only 60 pages through this thing, so there’s not even that space to judge yet. I find Badiou’s tone in the new preface incredibly self-important and off-putting at best. Still, I’m already a bit in awe. We’ll see if it lasts.

The back cover, then. It is full of ‘significance.’ The word is used three times. Badiou is described in the 4-line bio as “one of France’s most important contemporary philosophers.” From the four blurbs, it is “most significant,” or “a significant book” which speaks to “philosophical and political debates that matter most to us.” Everywhere, it is important, significant, “tackling the whole.”

Is the insistence on significance and ‘mattering to us’ symptomatic? At the least, of extreme uncertainty on the part of the design folks over at continuum press? (which, from a brief perusal of their catalog, looks pretty interesting)

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