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On the Commerce of Thinking: Of Books and Bookstores

On the Commerce of Thinking: Of Books and Bookstores (Hardback)

£74.00
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Synopsis

Jean-Luc Nancy's On the Commerce of Thinking concerns the particular communication of thoughts that takes place by means of the business of writing, producing, and selling books. His reflection is born out of his relation to the bookstore, in the first place his neighborhood one, but beyond that any such "perfumery, rotisserie, patisserie," as he calls them, dispensaries "of scents and flavors through which something like a fragrance or bouquet of the book is divined, presumed, sensed."

On the Commerce of Thinking is thus not only something of a semiology of the specific cultural practice that begins with the unique character of the writer's voice and culminates in a customer crossing the bookstore threshold, package under arm, on the way home to a comfortable chair, but also an understated yet persuasive plea in favor of an endangered species.

In evoking the peddler who, in times past, plied the streets with books and pamphlets literally hanging off him, Nancy emphasizes the sensuality of this commerce and reminds us that this form of consumerism is like no other, one that ends in an experience-reading-that is the beginning of a limitless dispersion, metamorphosis, and dissemination of ideas.

Making, selling, and buying books has all the elements of the exchange economy that Marx analyzed--from commodification to fetishism--yet each book retains throughout an absolute and unique value, that of its subject. With reading, it gets repeatedly reprinted and rebound. For Nancy, the book thus functions only if it remains at the same time open and shut, like some Moebius strip. Closed, it represents the Idea and takes its place in a canon by means of its monumental form and the title and author's name displayed on its spine. But it also opens itself to us, indeed consents to being shaken to its core, in being read each time anew.

Philosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesMedia Studies Publisher: Fordham University Press Publication Date: 01/06/2009 ISBN-13: 9780823230365  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 3-5 weeks.  

Jean-Luc Nancy is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Universite Marc Bloch, Strasbourg. His wide-ranging thought is developed in many books, including The Banality of Heidegger; The Possibility of a World; The Disavowed Community; Ego Sum; and, with Adele Van Reeth, Coming (all Fordham). David Wills holds degrees from the University of Auckland and Universite de Paris III. He is Professor of French and English at the University at Albany-SUNY and has held several international visiting positions. He is the author of Prosthesis (1995), Matchbook (2005), and Dorsality (2008); coauthor of Screen /Play: Derrida and Film Theory (1989) and Writing Pynchon (1990); editor of Godard's Pierrot le fou; and coeditor of Deconstruction and the Visual Arts. He has translated works by Jacques Derrida (Right of Inspection, The Gift of Death, Counterpath, The Animal That Therefore I Am) and Jean-Luc Nancy (The Commerce of Thinking). Recent articles have appeared in the Oxford Literary Review, Mosaic, Journal of French Philosophy, Parrhesia, and Diacritics.

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