Best Alan Sheridan books

Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison

Michel Foucault

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In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.

Rimbaud

Pierre Petitfils

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Pierre Petitfils, the leading French authority on Arthur Rimbaud, eschews all parti pris to give us an unvarnished account of everything that is known of the enigmatic existence of the poet. This is the first biography of Rimbaud to be written since the late 1930s and the first ever to be based on such exhaustive research.

Michel Foucault: The Will to Truth

Alan Sheridan

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First Published in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels

Agota Kristof

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These three internationally acclaimed novels have confirmed Agota Kristof's reputation as one of the most provocative exponents of new-wave European fiction. With all the stark simplicity of a fractured fairy tale, the trilogy tells the story of twin brothers, Claus and Lucas, locked in an agonizing bond that becomes a gripping allegory of the forces that have divided "brothers" in much of Europe since World War II. Kristof's postmodern saga begins with The Notebook, in which the brothers are children, lost in a country torn apart by conflict, who must learn every trick of evil and cruelty merely to survive. In The Proof, Lucas is challenging to prove his own identity and the existence of his missing brother, a defector to the "other side." The Third Lie, which closes the trilogy, is a biting parable of Eastern and Western Europe today and a deep exploration into the nature of identity, storytelling, and the truths and untruths that lie at the heart of them all. "Stark and haunting." - The San Francisco Chronicle; "A vision of considerable depth and complexity, a powerful portrait of the nobility and perversity of the human heart." - The Christian Science Monitor.

The Seminar of Jacques Lacan: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (Vol. Book XI) (The Seminar of Jacques Lacan)

Jacques Lacan

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Jacques Lacan's writings, and especially the seminars for which he has become famous, offer a controversial, radical reappraisal of the legacy bequeathed by Freud.

This volume is based on a year's seminar in which Dr. Lacan addressed a larger, less specialized audience than ever before, among whom he could not assume familiarity with his work. For his listeners then, and for his readers now, he wanted to "introduce a certain coherence into the major concepts on which psycho-analysis is based," namely, the unconscious, repetition, the transference, and the drive. Along the way he argues for a structural affinity between psychoanalysis and language, discusses the relation of psychoanalysis to religion, and reveals his particular stance on topics ranging from sexuality and death to alienation and repression. This book constitutes the essence of Dr. Lacan's sensibility.

The Sand Child

Tahar Ben Jelloun

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In this lyrical, hallucinatory novel set in Morocco, Tahar Ben Jelloun offers an imaginative and radical critique of contemporary Arab social customs and Islamic law. The Sand Child tells the story of a Moroccan father's effort to thwart the consequences of Islam's inheritance laws regarding female offspring. Already the father of seven daughters, Hajji Ahmed determines that his eighth child will be a male. Accordingly, the infant, a girl, is named Mohammed Ahmed and raised as a young man with all the privileges granted exclusively to men in traditional Arab-Islamic societies. As she matures, however, Ahmed's desire to have children marks the beginning of her sexual evolution, and as a woman named Zahra, Ahmed begins to explore her true sexual identity. Drawing on the rich Arabic oral tradition, Ben Jelloun relates the extraordinary events of Ahmed's life through a professional storyteller and the listeners who have gathered in a Marrakesh market square in the 1950s to hear his tale. A poetic vision of power, colonialism, and gender in North Africa, The Sand Child has been justifiably celebrated around the world as a daring and significant work of international fiction.

André Gide: A Life in the Present

Alan Sheridan

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One of the most important writers of the twentieth century, André Gide also led what was probably one of the most interesting lives our century has seen. Gide knew and corresponded with many of the major literary figures of his day, from Mallarmé to Oscar Wilde. Though a Communist, his critical account of Soviet Russia in Return from the USSR earned him the enmity of the Left. A lifelong advocate of moral and political freedom and justice, he was a proscribed writer on the Vatican's infamous "Index." Self-published most of his life, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, at the age of 77. An avowed homosexual, he nonetheless married his cousin, and though their marriage was unconsummated, at 53 he fathered a daughter for a friend.

Alan Sheridan's book is a literary biography of Gide, an intimate portrait of the reluctantly public man, whose work was deeply and inextricably entangled with his life. Gide's life provides a unique perspective on our century, an idea of what it was like for one person to live through unprecedented technological change, economic growth and collapse, the rise of socialism and fascism, two world wars, a new concern for the colonial peoples and for women, and the astonishing hold of Rome and Moscow over intellectuals. Following Gide from his first forays among the Symbolists through his sexual and political awakenings to his worldwide fame as a writer, sage, and commentator on his age, Sheridan richly conveys the drama of a remarkable life; the depth, breadth, and vitality of an incomparable oeuvre; and the spirit of a time that both so aptly expressed.

Festivals and the French Revolution

Mona Ozouf

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Festivals and the French Revolution--the subject conjures up visions of goddesses of Liberty, strange celebrations of Reason, and the oddly pretentious cult of the Supreme Being. Every history of the period includes some mention of festivals, although most historians have been content either to ridicule them as ineffectual or to bemoan them as repugnant examples of a sterile, official culture. Mona Ozouf shows us that they were much more than bizarre marginalia to the revolutionary process. Festivals offer critical insights into the meaning of the French Revolution; they show a society in the process of creating itself anew.

Historians have recognized the importance of the revolutionary festival as a symbol of the Revolution. But they have differed widely in their interpretations of what that symbol meant and have considered the festivals as diverse as the rival political groups that conceived and organized them. Against this older vision, Ozouf argues for the fundamental coherence and profound unity of the festival as both event and register of reference and attitude. By comparing the most ideologically opposed festivals (those of Reason and the Supreme Being, for instance), she shows that they clearly share a common aim, which finds expression in a mutual ceremonial and symbolic vocabulary. Through a brilliant discussion of the construction, ordering, and conduct of the festival Ozouf demonstrates how the continuity of the images, allegories, ceremonials, and explicit functions can be seen as the Revolution's own commentary on itself.

A second and important aim of this book is to show that this system of festivals, often seen as destructive, was an immensely creative force. The festival was the mirror in which the Revolution chose to see itself and the pedagogical tool by which it hoped to educate future generations, Far from being a failure, it embodied, socialized, and made sacred a new set of values based on the family, the nation, and mankind--the values of a modern, secular, liberal world.

Critique of Dialectical Reason, Volume One

Jean-Paul Sartre

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At the height of the Algerian war, Jean-Paul Sartre embarked on a fundamental reappraisal of his philosophical and political thought. The result was the Critique of Dialectical Reason, an intellectual masterpiece of the twentieth century, now republished with a major original introduction by Fredric Jameson. In it, Sartre set out the basic categories for the renovated theory of history that he believed was necessary for post-war Marxism.

Sartre’s formal aim was to establish the dialectical intelligibility of history itself, as what he called ‘a totalisation without a totaliser’. But, at the same time, his substantive concern was the structure of class struggle and the fate of mass movements of popular revolt, from the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century to the Russian and Chinese revolutions in the twentieth: their ascent, stabilisation, petrification and decline, in a world still overwhelmingly dominated by scarcity.

The Pasteurization of France

Bruno Latour

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What can one man accomplish, even a great man and brilliant scientist? Although every town in France has a street named for Pasteur, was he alone able to stop people from spitting, persuade them to dig drains, influence them to undergo vaccination? Pasteur's success depended upon a whole network of forces, including the public hygiene movement, the medical profession (both military physicians and private practitioners), and colonial interests. It is the operation of these forces, in combination with the talent of Pasteur, that Bruno Latour sets before us as a prime example of science in action. Latour argues that the triumph of the biologist and his methodology must be understood within the particular historical convergence of competing social forces and conflicting interests. Yet Pasteur was not the only scientist working on the relationships of microbes and disease. How was he able to galvanize the other forces to support his own research? Latour shows Pasteur's efforts to win over the French public--the farmers, industrialists, politicians, and much of the scientific establishment. Instead of reducing science to a given social environment, Latour tries to show the simultaneous building of a society and its scientific facts. The first section of the book, which retells the story of Pasteur, is a vivid description of an approach to science whose theoretical implications go far beyond a particular case study. In the second part of the book, "Irreductions," Latour sets out his notion of the dynamics of conflict and interaction, of the "relation of forces." Latour's method of analysis cuts across and through the boundaries of the established disciplines of sociology, history, and the philosophy of science, to reveal how it is possible not to make the distinction between reason and force. Instead of leading to sociological reductionism, this method leads to an unexpected irreductionism.