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

Alain Badiou; Bruno Bosteels (Translator)

A new and illuminating set of analyses of literature from one of France’s most important living philosophers.

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.

Published by Verso Books in November 2014. Translated by Bruno Bosteels and introduced by Emily Apter and Bruno Bosteels. More information here.

Alain Badiou

One of the most important Continental philosophers alive today, Alain Badiou is considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of our time. Born in Morocco in 1937, he moved to France in the 1960s, when he began publishing novels, plays, works of philosophy, political theory, and literary and aesthetic criticism. He has since written dozens of books and hundreds of essays, read not only by scholars and students all over the world, but by artists, writers, political organizers. Countless people have been inspired by his strikingly original and powerful ideas, his eloquent writing and teaching, and the example of his personal optimism and commitment.

Badiou’s major books of philosophy are Theory of the Subject (1982; English translation 2009), Being and Event (1988; English translation 2005), its sequel, Logics of Worlds (2006; English translation 2009). He is currently writing the third major volume in the series, The Immanence of Truths. In addition he has written dozens of books on politics, film, literature, music, ethics, Saint Paul, mathematics, and many other topics. He has also published six plays (which are frequently staged in Europe), three critically acclaimed novels, and innumerable essays.