This book by philosopher Youssef Ishaghpour is an event in more ways than one. Firstly because the author worked there for more than 20 years. Then because it gives for each Godard film the essential elements of understanding, by mixing film analysis, reminder of the context, studies of editing, etc. Finally, this encyclopedia, which often leaves the floor to Godard, is the first synthesis to appear the day after the death of the filmmaker, who disappeared last September.
In 2001, essayist Youssef Ishaghpour published a three-volume Orson Welles that has since become a reference book. There is no doubt that this Godard, which analyzes in detail 29 films by the author of Breathless, will be a bible for students of the 7th art and all cinema lovers. We learn to see but also to think about cinema, since all of Godard's work is nothing but a vast reflection on image and fiction.
About A woman is a woman (1961)
We could refer to Godard himself for whom A woman is a woman is his “real first film”. Cinéma de cinéma, a “second degree cinema” involving game, humor and irony which, even implicitly, give Godard's films their lightness; a distance that will become a “second power cinema”, reflexive, a theory of cinema.
400 pages / 978-2-914823-2-72
Exiles, May 2023
The real heads and tails / Inside and outside the walls
In their first encounter with Kiarostami's cinema, European audiences discovered a deep Iran: a contemplative vision, from a distance, celebrating childhood and villages, life in a timeless present, as if untouched by modern existence.
Complex in this apparent simplicity, the work of Abbas Kiarostami will undergo a radical transformation. He was no longer an "Iranian" director, but an international filmmaker and photographer. Animated by the uneasiness that prompts him to take the road, he seemed to be at home everywhere, with the same aesthetic detachment, his serenity, his availability, his openness.
This book takes up and brings together the author's two works on Kiarostami published in 2001 and 2012. It includes a dialogue with the director and photographer.
320 pages / 978-2-37856-101-7
Verdier, April 2021
Original editions: Farrago, Circé
History and theory
A medium of fiction and collective identification, an anthropological and cultural fact, a set of aesthetic creations: the cinema was one of the greatest myths of the 20th century and it remains so.
This power results from the contradictory link, in cinema, between the image of reality and the reality of the image: theoretical starting point for putting the multiple possibilities of cinema into perspective.
It is not a question of "naming" a lot of directors and films. But to "say it all", to give an overall vision that is both analytical and synthetic of cinema, from a historical and aesthetic point of view, from the formation of cinematographic expression to contemporary cinema.
176 pages / 978-2-86432-830-8
Verdier, October 2015
Original edition: Farrago
Historicity of cinema
From the historical birth known as cinema, from the appearance of the speaking, from the particular situation of cinema between art and Merchandise, from the continuity of cinema and the possibility of films, cinema and other arts, from its obsession with the History and its relationship to tradition, modernity and its end, the prohibition of images and their resurrection, the end of utopia or the situation of art and its meaning today ... it is the various aspects of "the question of the cinema" and of its "historicity" that it is about in the essays which constitute this book. The idea of "the historicity of cinema" encompasses not only "the history of cinema", or "cinema and history", and the reciprocal effects of one on the other, but above all 'authenticity of the material' as Adorno called it. "The historicity of cinema" also implies the historicity of discourse on cinema. In this relationship, the cinema is no longer treated as something particular and closed in on itself, but - as required by the relationship to any true creation in the opening of the horizon which is, and must be, the his.
221 pages / 978-2-84490-157-6
Farrago, October 2004
Orient and Occident
Satyajit Ray's work constitutes a continent, not so much because it is about India, but because of the diversity of issues, approaches, genres and styles of his films. Satyajit Ray was, on his own, a whole cinema, having had to travel through a complex world, in all directions and at all levels of the social, historical and cultural scale. For nearly two centuries, Western penetration, in this case that of the British Empire, was very strong in Bengal. This is why this intrinsic relationship between East and West, between tradition and modernity, is at the center of his great films, and therefore at the center of this essay. The Apu Trilogy, The Music Room, The Goddess, Charulata, The Chess Players are undoubtedly masterpieces of world cinema.
125 pages / 978-2-72911-401-5
La Différence Editions, April 2002
Orson Welles filmmaker
A visible camera (3 volumes)
The first volume, synthetic, analyzes the modernity of Welles and ends before his beginning in cinema [...].
Ishaghpour shows there how the cinema was the ground on which the great stakes and the revolutions in the history of art manifested themselves, in accelerated fashion.
But also, by his erudite approach to history, politics and society, philosophy and cinema, Ishaghpour identifies the constellation revolving around each film, and underlines in Welles its historicity, not only in relation to History but also in relation to cinema.
The second volume is devoted to the filmmaker's “films of the American period”, first welcomed by Hollywood and its producers, then disowned for the very reason which made the Shakespearean greatness of his films - the freedom of his creative exercise.
Finally, the third volume deals with “the films of the nomadic period”, in which Welles, aware of the identity of cinema as a work and a commodity at the same time, radicalizes his remarks on the falsehood of the image. Ishaghpour defines Orson Welles' modernity on the basis of the idea that he was the "first director who came to the image from the word". Speaking, and sound in general, are in fact the core on which Welles' cinema was built, which, by dissociating words and things, reality from the image and the image from reality (until then kept in a unity illusory by classical cinema) made the “camera visible”, introducing reflexivity and modernity to cinema.
1984 pages / 978-2-72912-355-0
La Différence Editions, October 2005
Archeology of cinema and memory of the century
Listening to what is at work in Histoire (s) du cinéma by Jean-Luc Godard, this dialogue, between the creator and the critic, is an aesthetic, philosophical and historical approach to its conditions of possibilities and what has taken form there: cinema in the century and the century in cinema, involving the whole of the man of the twentieth century, the imagination of his dark rooms, the real horror of his disasters, to his attempts at redemption through art.
Followed by J.-LG, filmmaker of modern life. The poetic in history.
128 pages / 978-2-37856-058-4
Verdier, June 2020
Original edition: Farrago
Opera and theater
in contemporary cinema
This essay questions the present of cinema and looks back on its past. Ishaghpour situates the history of cinema between two poles: the opera that cinema has replaced and television which threatens its existence today. He envisions opera, television and cinema in themselves and in the relationships that bind them. Thus appear the current and diverse possibilities of a cinema captured by television: an “aesthetic of finitude”, post-modern, and comic strip fantasies; a “theatrical” distance, between presence and cinematographic being-in-act, and the desire to recreate their unity through grand style, close to “opera”.
150 pages / 978-2-72911-060-4
La Différence Editions, January 1995
Forms of impermanence
The style of Yasujiro Ozu
Mu jô: nothing constant: impermanence. This feeling permeates, in Japan, the way of life, the Zen belief, the aesthetic of the evanescent moment and that of the interval. It characterizes the style of the most Japanese of filmmakers: Yasujiro Ozu.
Without transcendence, or desire to get out of ordinary life, on the contrary even: gentle compassion, calm and delicate towards it, this "euphoria of apathetic ecstasy", this knowledge of impermanence - of the Nothing as the being of the world, which disubstantializes everything and transforms everything into a fleeting aspect - generates detachment, the state of aesthetic bliss: form.
Attentive to the beauty of what is ephemeral, this knowledge of "what is going because it is going", this awareness of "the last time", meets, in Ozu, one of the ultimate possibilities of cinema: fleeting image and without substance of what we see, of the impermanence of the world and of ordinary life.
101 pages / 978-28449-0104-0
Farrago, November 2002
Meaning and image
Visconti and Rossellini were the two great postwar film revelations in Europe. The global explosion had shattered the unity of spectacle and realism coexisting in Renoir and in classical cinema. Under the term "realism", there were two different paths: the act of filming, the purity of cinema for Rossellini, and its fundamental impurity for Visconti, cinema as a synthesis of the arts - painting, music, literature, theater, opera. The traditional arts, everything that the cinema and the industrial world had destroyed, Visconti hoped to revive them thanks to the cinema: the hope of a unity of the old and the new, the desire to see oneself re-actualized, thanks to the people, the humanistic cultural tradition of the old masters - in the historical and aesthetic sense of the term. "Italy which remains in changing Italy." History, the rapid modernization of Italy, has transformed this hope into a desire for reconciliation which shatters a dialectic of progressivism and decadence. Visconti's cinema has become the memory of a certain lost past of Europe: a means of evocation, farewell, a long look at what is invoked for the last time but as if to come and die. A cinema of temporality, of remembrance where the feeling of the end of the world - as of a family tearing itself apart, or of individuality which is destroyed to find its truth - is experienced in desire and passion. This essay links thematic analysis, that of materials and forms, to the aesthetic-philosophical and historical dimension. It offers an interpretative synthesis of what Luchino Visconti called his "personal work".
352 pages / 978-2-72911-645-3
La Différence Editions, October 2006
On this side of the mirror
This book is not an encyclopedia of contemporary cinema nor a theoretical system built about it.
This is "critical models": the analysis of some outstanding works questions "the state of things" and the thought which took shape in them and which they bring to light.
This essay attempts to discover the current configuration of a contemporary cinema nostalgic for its own past and for “the lost illusion”. A cinema which cannot rediscover old beliefs, nor the mirror screen of the dream that modern reflexivity had pulverized. A constellation of works threatened by the “hyperreality” of the contemporary: “the absence of the world” produced by the omnipotence of the media and television.
334 pages / 978-2-72910-210-4
La Différence Editions, January 1986
From an image to another
The new modernity of cinema
As an interrogation on representation in cinema today, this important essay deals primarily with the ways of being of the images and their historical meaning. From the study of King Kong as a passage from illusion to simulacrum to the "documentaries" of Jean-Marie Straub and to the lyricism of Wim Wenders, then of Resnais who integrates the image into the editing, to the rejection of representation in Marguerite Duras, Youssef Ishaghpour studies the development of current practices and identifies the radically contradictory directions in which the cinema has embarked.
320 pages / 978-2-282-30215-7
Denoël, January 1982
Ruins in the beginning
Image, myth and material
Only a thinker like Ishaghpour, familiar with German philosophy and the history of Western painting, can succeed in giving dimension to Kiefer's work and deciphering the mechanisms that underlie its development.
Born under falling bombs, Anselm Kiefer learned about the world by playing in the ruins. It is the origin and the horizon of his work which was intended, from the start, to be commensurate with the self-proclaimed, self-destroyed and ravaged greatness of Germany, and, starting from there, to that of the history of the whole of humanity, from the desolation of charred landscapes to the rubble of ancient temples, and even of the original disaster inherent in the creation of the world. Heir to German idealism and romanticism, Kiefer embraces and appropriates everything - from the tangible and the intangible, the cosmos and the human universe: his own nail clippings and blades of grass, the empyrean, pebbles and flowers, myths of various beliefs (Germanic, Jewish, Greek, Christian, Gnostic) the words of the poets (Ingeborg Bachmann, Paul Celan, above all, and many others), traces of history, angels, plants and constellations. Using various materials and techniques, multiplying the supports (painting, sculpture, showcase, innumerable books, grandiose workshops, real estates, full cosmos), Kiefer, faced with the disenchantment of the world, has recourse, like Wagner before him, to myth and “great art.” Through Kiefer's work, this powerful and profound essay questions the possibility of art in a world which - after Auschwitz - has survived its own ruin.
This essay, written over 7 years, reached the Canoe at the same time as the announcement of a major Kiefer exhibition at the Grand Palais from December 2021 to January 2022.
512 pages / 978-2-49025-159-9
Canoë Editions, 2021
"This book goes so far into the quintessence of Kiefer's art that one might say that he has said it all, written it all, and that there was nothing more important left for him to leave us in posterity.
It is necessary to read Ishaghpour's Kiefer to begin to understand something of this formidable and once again capital German, Franco-German, European and world artist, but also to approach the Ruin and the Beginning differently."
Le nouvel Observateur
Mental cosa against the mirror image
“Old painting believed in closed objects in a continuous mode, it is the continuity of one and the closure of the other that broke. Nothing more exists in and for itself, everything is in an open-closed relationship of multiple, discontinuous, heterogeneous determinations […]. The terms object, form, space, light, viewer, image and painting lose their univocity, consistency and stasis and become dynamic. The object is a succession of moments, aspects, and vision: reception of aspects and prospect, perception, memory, imagination, discontinuous and intertwined. The painting will no longer be the image of the world, but literally a surface of inscription, and it is not for nothing that the writings will appear there."
Panopticum, December 2020
Traces / Below the image
"The specifically American art, which Rauschenberg designates, will produce Pop'Art: an art in harmony with the enlarged and generalized reproduction from the mid-1950s - the domination of the cultural industry and the proliferation of images, thanks to the hegemony of television, the extension of the media and advertising […]. But instead of consuming and reproducing reproduction images, which make it impossible to truly experience the world, Twombly will be able to start over, with lines on the white surface: a zero point."
Panopticum, December 2020
The liberated figuration, the image against photography
“The pictorial modernity that resulted from photography consisted of freedom from the motif, autonomy from the subject, the treatment of material, formal organization, the problems of painting and the reflexivity of the question. determinant of representation as such. But with Fautrier, if it is a matter of the essential importance of technique and material, it is in their relationship to the image. Because motifs and subjects do not completely disappear or fall - as for other contemporaries - under the influence of irony, playfulness, frivolity."
Panopticum, December 2020
Light of absence
Modern painting has avoided image and narration so as not to find itself in the proximity of photography and cinema and what technical reproduction reveals: the banality of a world void of substance. It is this challenge that Hopper takes on to paint the present in the present. While maintaining the proximity of the photographic and the banal world, he goes beyond them by expressing their "truth" in painting.
A transfiguration which produces the particular tone of his work: "strangely familiar", enigmatic in its evidence. Starting from the reality of the America of his time, determined in its essence by Hollywood, Hopper reaches the other side of the "American dream" and the common "existential experience" of the twentieth century: dereliction, loneliness, alienation, "strangely", absence. It is through his "architectonics of light" that Hopper achieves this passage between everyday banality and the timelessness of painting, figuration and abstraction at the same time.
He creates, in a light of absence, between the non-being of what is and the improbable of what is not, "the image at a standstill": present without presence, at the threshold of time.
174 pages / 978-2-842423-58-2
Circé, September 2014
Chohereh Feyzdjou presents his works in the universal commodity idiom: "Product of...". So everything bears the mark, label and date. And the whole, which would otherwise be any kind of installation, holds, with its crates and jars, bottles or sachets, the display, hastily put down, of a market of the day. Its gutted cases seem to come from a wholesaler's warehouse, from the platforms of a station or a port. Its rolls installed on scaffolding, which can be unrolled, are something of rolls of carpet, oilcloth, wallpaper; the other rolls closed and grouped upright together, or its frames arranged in order of magnitude, lead us to a color merchant who only sells "black". We thus enter a bazaar which has the unusual and the strangeness, also the irony, murky and frightening, of a grocery store of the apocalypse...
91 pages / 978-2-842422-95-0
Circé, August 2011
The portrait of the artist in his studio
A reflection on the whole of Gustave Courbet's work from his famous Real Allegory painted in 1855 and kept at the Musée d'Orsay.
Malraux called "unreal" painting begun in the Renaissance and "timeless" modern painting. With his "real allegory", of which his Workshop - central object of this book - is the manifesto, it is in this in-between that Gustave Courbet places himself. Between what painting was still for Ingres and Delacroix and what it will be from Manet: between a “painting of the ideal” and an “ideal of painting”.
It is in this in-between, this hiatus, in what seems to be a syncope and a passage, that Courbet appears. And it is this void, this opening that he creates and that he fills at the same time, by his rebellious attitude, demanding an unusual force, by the affirmation of individuality, of his individuality and by the image of the Artist, his own image and almost his body.
Courbet, who wants to be a "child of the earth", opposes "the truth of realism", the image of the people, certainly, but above all the materiality of Nature and painting, to the "aristocratic and theocratic" tradition of the Ideal.
The cartoonists present Courbet as a “sun”. It appears at the center of a constellation, the terms of which are: the advent of the peasantry on the political scene in 1848; the birth of photography (which will soon put an end to the tradition of Western mimesis); the sovereign figure of the Artist as the embodiment of freedom in democracy - between art, politics and money - and his dependence on his image on the market place.
150 pages / 978-2-840680-88-8
The stall, June 1998
Circé, April 2011
Works, writings, interviews
Far from the banal cliché of the artist equipped with all his necessary originality, personality, style etc., thanks to which the language of works is communicated, there is, for the author, above all, a core of more anonymous thought, a collective nucleus of which he is the modest servant. This is the area where the wisdom underlying all ideologies and all the fatal contingencies of the world is located.
It is the drive of our instinct for life, for knowledge, for love, for freedom which has been preserved and quickened by the wisdom of always. Its concrete forms, essential for the communication of its messages, are the obligatory episodes of the laws of growth of art in each of its moments. The image of the wall, with its innumerable connotations, quite naturally constitutes one of these episodes.
159 pages / 978-2-75410-124-0
Hazan, October 2006
The Persian miniature
The colors of light: the mirror and the garden
The dazzling beauty of the Persian miniature, the splendor of its wonderful world of land of dreams is that of pure color. It is the freedom, the finesse, the delicacy and the multiplicity of its colors that distinguish it from classical paintings of China and the West.
Heavenly vision, mirror and garden, the Persian miniature achieves the union of the abstract principle of Islamic ornament with this theosophical belief of ancient Persia: "It is thanks to His light that the world is dressed in a adornment of joy."
96 pages / 978-2-86432-570-3
Verdier, February 2009
Original edition: Farrago
Meta-irony and sublime
The questions surrounding the semantic field of the idea of creativity with Marcel Duchamp certainly influenced many artists of the twentieth century. But what about the new function of art in a disenchanted world? What about autonomous art as a social vision? The aesthetic and concrete analysis of "romantic Duchamp" brings a little salt to the board of our reflections to pursue our research while continuing to refine our "retinal thrill".
48 pages / 978-2-914688-83-3
Éditions de l'Attente , December 2008
The world as images of reproduction
Rauschenberg sees himself as "photosensitive paper which is only illuminated" and captures the world. Thus, in a deep adhesion and an acceptance of everything, according to the "indifference principle" which defines the "democratic" character of photography, its photographic "transfers" constitute the great epic frescoes of the "contemporary". Rauschenberg's first paintings were empty of any image, as the ultimate point of abstract expressionism, which he quickly began to taunt, with his Combine, in the tradition, transformed, of anti-art and Dada: by opening up the absolute work of art in itself to any wind, to the disparate, heterogeneous and incongruous remains of everyday life.
Where the absolute of modern painting resulted from the effect of the "prohibition of images" due to the invention of photography, "enlarged technical reproduction", since the development of television, has produced the proliferation of images: in a relation of tautological reciprocity between "image" and "reality" with the images of images of "contemporary art". So we passed from time immemorial when there were "images in the world" to today "of a world in images".
It is truly "from below" pure painting that the photographs made their appearance in Rauschenberg's "transfers". We had called painting "the Image of the World": it was before the existence of a world made up of reproduction images.
80 pages / 978-2-84490-123-1
Farrago / Léo Scheer, November 2003
An absence of image: the light of color
The absolute of a painting reduced to itself: colors on a surface and the light that emanates from it, radiating from them like the darkness that haunts them, unknown, unknowable. Rothko's "classic" paintings capture the viewer with the force of evidence and inexhaustible mystery. "It was only ecstasy, art is ecstatic or it is nothing", he said... Within a constellation - constituted by European abstract painting of the beginning of the twentieth century, surrealist automatic writing, the abstract expressionism of the New York School, and the ways of other Russian Jewish painters - a slow journey leads Rothko to this unapproachable light as an experience of finitude in the despair and fervor of l 'conflagration: "a serenity on the verge of explosion ... the brilliance of colors coming from and containing a primitive and violent darkness". "It is not about painting", he said of his paintings which he called "facades". These are not pictures...
127 pages / 978-2-84490-124-8
Farrago / Léo Scheer, May 2003
Painting and image
Nicolas de Staël is first of all a painter. His paintings do not imply conceptual speculation, nor do they lend themselves to it. And ifs do not give the infinite processions allegorical and iconological interpretations either. If he had no other being than painting, a destiny, his way of going to the end of oneself, bringing into play the art and the whole of existence: this destiny, its ideas and his practice, indistinct, are immanent in painting. Staël is one of the last to see all pictorial problems confronted - just before other techniques and another era completely changed everything. As if it fell to him, in the violence of constraint and choice, to keep a legacy alive through continuous renewal: the treatment, with almost immemorial instruments, of color-matter on a surface and the gesture, the touch especially, sensitive material. Their relationship to space, light, form. And the pictorial in its relation with the visible and the perception: the universe of bodies, objects, landscapes from which the world of men is constituted. What, on the paintings, became an image and which had been excluded, with the invention of photography, having opened up to painting the possibility of deploying its own powers. Staël's work encompasses the two extremes of pure pictorial presence and image. But, for that very reason, of a spectral image - "revenante" - having changed in essence: no longer the presence of an unreal full of meaning redeeming the world of phenomena, but this world "transfigured" in the nowhere else of non-being and absence.
111 pages / 978-2-84490-133-0
Farrago / Léo Scheer, November 2003
Light and memory
The existence of photographic reproduction has weighed on modern painting like a "ban on images". Since then, "ghosts", in spaces haunted by absence, things and their images have been, in painting, nothing but dreams, petrified memories or enigmas. But in Giorgio Morandi's painting, thanks to reminiscence, the perception of things becomes the memory-image of itself, in a movement of coming to presence where perception and memory meet. It is a tone, a light, which transfigure everything, but without making each thing lose its phenomenality, its singularity, its fragility and its arbitrary and temporal existence. The painting becomes time rediscovered, the space of this spiritual transfiguration of things: the redemption of time in memory and of matter in light.
47 pages / 978-2-844900-75-3
Farrago / Léo Scheer, November 2001
Poussin, where the distant
Myth and landscape
“It is in the fullness and the silence of a deep recollection that the painter, and the spectator thanks to him, experiences the 'transcendence', the 'completely other', admirable, fascinating and mysterious of the reality of nature, in its absolute and distant inaccessibility."
111 pages / 978-2-84490-133-0
The purity of the spectral element
A close meditation on Seurat's drawings and their relationship to photography.
32 pages / 978-2-90565-794-7
L'Échoppe, January 1991
To the origins of modern art
Bataille calls "Manet's impersonal revolution" the silence imposed on the text - religious, historical, humanist - on which Western painting was based, the destruction of the painted "subject" and of subjectivity, master of representation. These are the very effects of photography, as Walter Benjamin thought them: the conjunction of modernity, of technical reproduction, of fashion and the phantasmagoria of the commodity. Modern liquidates tradition: Manet replaces the goddess with the girl, immortality with the corpse, representation with the image. Between mirror and painting, in Un bar aux Folies-Bergère, he exhibits painting, but also the implicit desire of Western painting. A tradition that he destroys and saves at the same time.
111 pages / 978-2-72911-433-6
La Différence Editions, October 2002
Literature and Philosophy
The poem after Auschwitz
It is a polemical essay, short but which deals with the thoughts of Adorno, Celan and Heidegger concerning art and its possibility in a world surviving Nazism.
It is therefore about aesthetics, philosophy and history.
Its starting point is a phrase from Adorno which has become “a magic formula” - world famous: “Writing a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric. "
This "verdict" of Theodor Adorno, often quoted by hearsay and repeated over and over, has been transformed into a cliché. Used as a mantra. Regardless of the meaning that the proposition, thus metamorphosed into a “sentence”, could have for Adorno and what it implied.
It is therefore essential to see the context. It is especially necessary to re-read other writings of Adorno devoted to this fundamental and paradoxical question: the impossibility and, at the same time, the necessity of art in a world which has survived its own ruin.
Poet of such a world, Paul Celan believed, wrongly as Ishaghpour notes, that it was he who had been targeted by "the verdict", even if he waited for Adorno - disappeared before being able to do so - that he devotes a book to his poetry.
It was Heideggerians who wrote such books, making Celan "the poet of Heidegger". Quite the opposite therefore of Adorno's supposed "verdict" - used thus to discredit him with all the "critical theory" -, and going so far as to transform Heidegger, because of his "wanderings" (he was anti-Semitic, member of the Nazi party and supporter of Hitler), and because he would be the only one listening to “The Poetry of the World”, “the philosopher who saved “Auschwitz””. Which requires a return to its philosophy.
96 pages / 978-2-490251-03-2
Canoë Editions, 2018
Shahrokh Meskoob: by himself
Text to be completed
75 pages / 978-2-9124-9081-0
The Tomb of Sadegh Hedayat
Hedayat is the greatest writer of modern Iran, born from the inevitable and catastrophic encounter of a visionary universe of images and a lyrico-mystical tradition of love with techniques, objects and disenchantment modern from the West.
Himself on the dividing line between East and West, Youssef Ishaghpour, sees the experience and the work of Hedayat as the flash of this meeting, illuminating the extent of the disaster, sketch of this landscape, his homage to the great Iranian writer is also an introduction to the blind owl, Hedayat's masterpiece, the place, precisely, of the metamorphosis of the ancient visionary world of love, the image and the poem in the abyss of a bottomless night, shadow, distorting mirror and gaze.
90 pages / 978-2-844-90006-7
Farrago, May 1999
Metamorphosis and identity
Begun in 1930, the fictional work of the young Canetti could be called "The Tower of Babel". It is haunted by the end of the individual, of culture, of language, by the end of history and by the emergence of the mass.
It will take thirty-five years for Elias Canetti to develop Mass and Power and "take the century by the throat". And the patience of this long road will lead him from an experience of the end of the world to the recognition of the holiness of the breath and of the living.
A new form of thought will be necessary to understand and navigate the horrors of the century. A multiple and divergent work which, from the autobiography to the most general reflection, will always listen to the secret heart of this time. A thought that will oppose the metamorphosis to the deadly identity.
Because the identical as a principle of power, survival and death has been set up as the master destroyer of the earth and of men. And it is the task of the poet to safeguard the metamorphosis and the consciousness of the words which allow access to the territory of man.
185 pages / 978-2-7291-0593-8
La Différence Editions, 1990
The intellectual and the political between the two wars
“Since 1914, all life has been public (...). No one escapes the world, private life has ceased to be possible just like the private thought which measured the world of one man. We must make up our minds: these hobbies are not coming back”, wrote Nizan.
These hobbies have returned, with private "thought" and privacy, measuring the world of one man, demarcating his horizon. In this "brave new world", where any idea of the public good, of the universal, of the political, immediately recalls the Terror or the Gulag, how can we still understand something about this existence which was only public, at a time when almost everyone, intellectual or not, had to take sides, at this time of war, of economic crisis, of violence, of bloody riots, of political confrontation on a continent-wide scale, at this time time of distress, of hope too...
Paul Nizan's books, be they polemics, philosophy or fiction, are linked to immediate experience. These are attempts of different kinds to bring historical experience to the level of knowledge.
To consider his work from a strictly literary point of view would be to lose its specificity and immediately reduce Nizan to the level of a small provincial master, while it is as a mediation between a historical experience and his knowledge that his writings have had and continue to have meaning and impact. This is why this book, attached to reading the singularity of Nizan's human adventure in the metamorphosis of his texts, can be considered at the same time, and independently of him, as a history of ideas between the two wars.
Broke down by the war in the spring of 1940, Paul Nizan has become a mythical figure of a committed and dissident intellectual: the one who wanted to live through the alliance of philosophy and politics to the end.
253 pages / 2-7291-0592-1
La Différence Editions, 1990
A mythical figure and his time
Nizan lived through the distress of his time, the decline of the petty bourgeoisie, the crisis in the function of intellectuals. He adhered to communism during the third period: "class against class" and he had to come to terms with the peace of the Popular Front, master his revolt, adventurer, become a Stalinist militant before breaking against Stalinism.
His books are the effect of politics: in theory first, but also in literature as a utopia of revolutionary action and a sign of its lack.
From Aden Arabia, a masterpiece of committed literature, to the Conspiracy, a novel of disillusion, Youssef Ishaghpour follows, from text to text, the changing marks left in Nizan's work by a revolution, ardently called that n ' did not take place.
He reads Paul Nizan in his time and reads this time through him.
253 pages / 978-2-8626-2072-5
Lukács and Heidegger
For a new philosophy
A new reading of Lukacs and Heidegger is Lucien Goldmann's research: to bring together these two great philosophers, the Marxist and the existentialist, in an analysis which reverses customary perspectives. This important posthumous text demonstrates a fundamental community, their break with traditional thought but also their differences.
Original but now classic views shed new light on the fundamental concepts of the two philosophers.
Edition established and presented by Youssef Ishaghpour.
200 pages / 978-2-4023-0044-5