Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben

Synopsis

Giorgio Agamben is one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary continental philosophy and critical theory. His work covers a broad array of topics from biblical criticism to Guantanamo Bay and the 'war on terror'.

Alex Murray explains Agamben's key ideas, including:

  • an overview of his work from first publication to the present
  • clear analysis of Agamben's philosophy of language and life
  • theories of ethics and 'witnessing'
  • the relationship between Agamben's political writing and his work on aesthetics and poetics.

Investigating the relationship between politics, language, literature, aesthetics and ethics, this guide is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the complex nature of modern political and cultural formations.

Excerpt

The books in this series offer introductions to major critical thinkers who have influenced literary studies and the humanities. The Routledge Critical Thinkers series provides the books you can turn to first when a new name or concept appears in your studies.

Each book will equip you to approach a key thinker’s original texts by explaining their key ideas, putting them into context and, perhaps most importantly, showing you why this thinker is considered to be significant. The emphasis is on concise, clearly written guides which do not presuppose a specialist knowledge. Although the focus is on particular figures, the series stresses that no critical thinker ever existed in a vacuum but, instead, emerged from a broader intellectual, cultural and social history. Finally, these books will act as a bridge between you and the thinker’s original texts: not replacing them but rather complementing what they wrote. In some cases, volumes consider small clusters of thinkers, working in the same area, developing similar ideas or influencing each other.

These books are necessary for a number of reasons. In his 1997 autobiography, Not Entitled, the literary critic Frank Kermode wrote of a time in the 1960s:

On beautiful summer lawns, young people lay together all night, recovering from
their daytime exertions and listening to a troupe of Balinese musicians. Under
their blankets or their sleeping bags, they would chat drowsily about the gurus of
the time … What they repeated was largely hearsay; hence my lunchtime sug
gestion, quite impromptu, for a series of short, very cheap books offering
authoritative but intelligible introductions to such figures.

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