The publication of Expectation in 2015 underscored the significance of literature within Jean-Luc Nancy’s philosophical body of work. Ever since The Literary Absolute and The Title of the Letter, co-written with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, which left a mark on what they dub “philoliterature,” the question of “literature” [poîesis, Dichtung) has given rise to several theoretical, aesthetic, and political meditations, as well as—unusually for a philosopher—formal experiments (pastiches, poems, dialogues, recitatives, etc.). After recalling the legacies of early German Romanticism, Benjamin, and Blanchot, I examine some of Nancy’s statements on literature or, better yet, on fiction defined as a “fashioning” of forms and as the “creation” of the world. I then analyze the key elements of his approach to writing as nascent form, involved in a process of formation and transformation. Literature for Nancy makes sense through excess and intensification; immemorial and without a prior “taking-place,” it is characterized by the sharing of voices, address, and orality, the constant interaction between (the) sense(s) and the body. Lastly, the final section focuses on poetry insofar as it bears the sharpest tip of our relationship with language.
With this book, we would like to resume the passionate conversation that Jean-Luc Nancy was engaged in throughout his life, with philosophers and artists from all over the world. Now that he has passed away, it is not enough for us to simply reflect on his work: we would like to stay true to the stance to which his thought invites us, in a pluralistic and communal way. Jean-Luc Nancy takes up the old philosophical question of truth as a praxis of a with — understanding truth without any given measure or comparison as an articulation of a with. It is a thinking responsible for the world from within the world, a language that seeks to respond to the ongoing mutation of our civilization.
With contributions by Jean-Christophe Bailly, Rodolphe Burger, Marcia Sá Calvacante Schuback, Marcus Coelen, Alexander García Düttmann, Juan-Manuel Garrido, Martta Heikkilä, Erich Hörl, Valentin Husson, Sandrine Israel-Jost, Ian James, Apostolos Lampropoulos, Nidesh Lawtoo, Jérôme Lèbre, Susanna Lindberg, Michael Marder, Artemy Magun, Boyan Manchev, Dieter Mersch, Hélène Nancy, Jean-Luc Nancy, Aïcha Liviana Messina, Ginette Michaud, Helen Petrovsky, Jacob Rogozinski, Philipp Stoellger, Peter Szendy, Georgios Tsagdis, Marita Tatari, Gert-Jan van der Heiden, Aukje van Rooden.