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The Age of the Poets: And Other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose

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The Age of the Poets revisits the age-old problem of the relation between literature and philosophy, arguing against both Plato and Heidegger’s famous arguments. Philosophy neither has to ban the poets from the republic nor abdicate its own powers to the sole benefit of poetry or art. Instead, it must declare the end of what Badiou names the “age of the poets,” which stret The Age of the Poets revisits the age-old problem of the relation between literature and philosophy, arguing against both Plato and Heidegger’s famous arguments. Philosophy neither has to ban the poets from the republic nor abdicate its own powers to the sole benefit of poetry or art. Instead, it must declare the end of what Badiou names the “age of the poets,” which stretches from Hölderlin to Celan. Drawing on ideas from his first publication on the subject, “The Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process,” Badiou offers an illuminating set of readings of contemporary French prose writers, giving us fascinating insights into the theory of the novel while also accounting for the specific position of literature between science and ideology.


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The Age of the Poets revisits the age-old problem of the relation between literature and philosophy, arguing against both Plato and Heidegger’s famous arguments. Philosophy neither has to ban the poets from the republic nor abdicate its own powers to the sole benefit of poetry or art. Instead, it must declare the end of what Badiou names the “age of the poets,” which stret The Age of the Poets revisits the age-old problem of the relation between literature and philosophy, arguing against both Plato and Heidegger’s famous arguments. Philosophy neither has to ban the poets from the republic nor abdicate its own powers to the sole benefit of poetry or art. Instead, it must declare the end of what Badiou names the “age of the poets,” which stretches from Hölderlin to Celan. Drawing on ideas from his first publication on the subject, “The Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process,” Badiou offers an illuminating set of readings of contemporary French prose writers, giving us fascinating insights into the theory of the novel while also accounting for the specific position of literature between science and ideology.

30 review for The Age of the Poets: And Other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Vagnetti

    The editors call Badiou's approach "relentless." One is exposed to a dynamic traffic of nodes, depositions, breaches, delinkings, suspensions, "poetic diagonals" and "capital accomplices," of thoughts which may or may not be thinking. There may be soreness in unfamiliar, simulated muscles. ("Compossibility" is a term that is used, and its apparently a few hundred years old.) In this writing, the poem exists in a condition that is constantly untenable, but the reading of a poem is weirdly normali The editors call Badiou's approach "relentless." One is exposed to a dynamic traffic of nodes, depositions, breaches, delinkings, suspensions, "poetic diagonals" and "capital accomplices," of thoughts which may or may not be thinking. There may be soreness in unfamiliar, simulated muscles. ("Compossibility" is a term that is used, and its apparently a few hundred years old.) In this writing, the poem exists in a condition that is constantly untenable, but the reading of a poem is weirdly normalized in a way that seems appropriate, even essential, a human act constantly on the verge of pretending to be damned or forgotten again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick Seeger

    This was a deeply insightful collection of essays on both poetry and prose. Perhaps too deep for me to fully comprehend the nuance of Badiou's discourse. The two essays I liked the most were "What does a poem think?" and "What does Literature think?". With regards to the former, much of his argument turns on the premise that what remains after a poem is translated is the thought of the poem, not knowledge specifically, as knowledge needs an object, and a poem is divested of it's object in the dua This was a deeply insightful collection of essays on both poetry and prose. Perhaps too deep for me to fully comprehend the nuance of Badiou's discourse. The two essays I liked the most were "What does a poem think?" and "What does Literature think?". With regards to the former, much of his argument turns on the premise that what remains after a poem is translated is the thought of the poem, not knowledge specifically, as knowledge needs an object, and a poem is divested of it's object in the dual process of subtraction and dissemination. Subtraction is what assembles the poem with the direct aim of a withdrawal of the object; the poem is a negative machine, which states being, or the idea, at the very point where the object has vanished Dissemination, for it's part, seeks to dissolve the object by way of it's infinite metaphorical distribution As for the latter, my understanding is less clear, although I am certain he is on to something profound. He posits a chart with axes for Language and Reality, respectively. Any use of language to represent reality will be charted as a point on the graph, and a phrase would be a movement between points, thus forming a curve. This is where it gets hazy for me: Any successful narrative will encircle itself thus forming a closed loop at whose intersection one could identify what German romanticists called the "Literary Absolute ". I think there's some value to reading works that extend your understanding of a subject, and this one was indeed a stretch. I enjoyed it, but may find it more rewarding upon successive reads.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    I enjoyed this, but it did at times seem very esoteric. I understand to a degree how theory is written, especially in literary contexts, but I do always find it tough to grapple with works that feel intentionally obscure at times. It's okay to write concisely and simply! It doesn't make you less intelligent! I enjoyed this, but it did at times seem very esoteric. I understand to a degree how theory is written, especially in literary contexts, but I do always find it tough to grapple with works that feel intentionally obscure at times. It's okay to write concisely and simply! It doesn't make you less intelligent!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Mostly rating it on behalf of "Poetry & Communism" & "What Does Lit Think?", which are absolutely tremendous essays. Still unsure what to think about the expansion of Macherey in "Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process". Mostly rating it on behalf of "Poetry & Communism" & "What Does Lit Think?", which are absolutely tremendous essays. Still unsure what to think about the expansion of Macherey in "Autonomy of the Aesthetic Process".

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Noselli

    Some of it was interesting.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luigi Umali

  7. 4 out of 5

    Silje Kristine

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Victor

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vince

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arya

  12. 4 out of 5

    Merinde

  13. 5 out of 5

    Veeler.Play

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thom Kennon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Schlusser

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Mitchell

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barry

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  20. 4 out of 5

    Yanni

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hedi Kholti

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nightocelot

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marcel

  24. 5 out of 5

    pozharvgolovu

  25. 4 out of 5

    Awrup Irfan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Nash

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shulamith Farhi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nodar Gotsiridze

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karlo Mikhail

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom

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