Reframing Twentieth-Century French Philosophy: The Roots of Desire, edited by Elodie Boublil, investigates the works of French philosophers who have been relegated to the margins of the canon, even if their teachings and writings have been recognized as highly influential. The contributions gather around the concept of “desire” to make sense of the French philosophical debate throughout the twentieth century. The first part of the volume investigates the concept of desire by questioning the role of reflexivity in embodiment and self-constitution. It examines specifically the works of three authors—Maine de Biran, Jean Nabert, and Jean-Louis Chrétien—to highlight their specific contribution to twentieth-century French philosophy. The second part of the volume explores desire's pre-reflective and affective dynamics that resist objectification and reflexivity by analyzing the contributions of lesser-known thinkers such as Simone Weil, Sarah Kofman, and Henri Maldiney. The last part of the volume focuses on three philosophical endeavors that aim to positively rethink the foundations of phenomenology and French philosophy: Jacques Garelli, Marc Richir, and Mikel Dufrenne.
Elodie Boublil is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Paris XII (UPEC).
Introduction: Anthropology or Metaphysics? Another History of 20th Century French Philosophy, by Elodie Boublil
Part I: Elucidating Desire: Embodiment and Reflexivity
Chapter 1: The Lived Body: From Maine de Biran to French Phenomenology, by Paula Lorelle
Chapter 2: Jean Nabert: A Hidden Source of French Phenomenology? by Scott Davidson
Chapter 3: The Source of Desire: Individuation and Responsive Care in Jean-Louis Chrétien’s Philosophy, by Elodie Boublil
Part II: Desire, Drives, and Imagination
Chapter 4: Seize Hold of the Hunger: Simone Weil’s Ethical Eros, by A. Rebecca Rozelle-Stone
Chapter 5: Sarah Kofman: Irony and Self-Writing as Philosophical Practice, by Melissa Theriault
Chapter 6: Henri Maldiney’s Philosophy of Existence, by Till Grohmann
Chapter 7: Rhythm and Subjectivity in Maldiney and Deleuze, by Stefan Kristensen
Part III: Desire, Cosmology, and Metaphysics
Chapter 8: The Reversibility of the Flesh: Jacques Garelli and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, by Renaud Barbaras (Translated by Elodie Boublil)
Chapter 9: Phenomenological Metaphysics in Marc Richir, by Alexander Schnell.
Chapter 10: Nature as Potentiality of the World, by Delia Popa.
There have been several attempts to tell the history of philosophy in France in the 20th century, and most of them tell that history by focusing on the same major thinkers. This collection, to its credit, draws attention to important figures overlooked by the standard histories, thinkers like Maine de Biran or Jean Nabert, whose works influenced their better-known compatriots; or thinkers like Simone Weil, Mikel Dufrenne, Henri Maldinay, or Sarah Kofman, who were their fellow travelers and interlocutors, but whose work has heretofore rarely been engaged by the English-speaking philosophical community. In order to correct this oversight, this volume brings together provocative essays that show how these philosophers’ reflections on desire, whether in dialogue with dialectics, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, ethics, or each other, tells a different history of 20th-century French philosophy, a history whose telling is long overdue.
The essays collected in this volume “reframe” how we see aspects of twentieth century French philosophy that are largely unknown. The volume contains essays on Maine de Biran, Jean Nabert, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Simone Weil, Sarah Kofman, Henri Maldiney, Jacques Garelli, Marc Richir, and Mickel Dufrenne. Each essay shows how these more obscure philosophers influenced the more well-known French philosophers. All the essays revolve around the question of desire. Reframing Twentieth Century French Philosophy is a must read for anyone interested in 20th century continental philosophy.