Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe


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Frenchpost-structuralist philosopher. Often working in collaboration with his Strasbourg colleague, Jean-Luc Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe's writing is chiefly concerned with the metaphysics of the subject in the wake of post-structuralism. He explores this problematic by investigating the relationship between literature and philosophy, or more rigorously put between aesthetics and politics. In this regard, his work is sometimes seen as a form of deconstruction, but although he was close to Jacques Derrida he was neither his student nor his acolyte. He is perhaps best known for his engagement with the issue of Heidegger's Nazism and its implication for philosophy, La Fiction du politique (1987), translated as Heidegger, Art and Politics (1990). His previous work can be seen as the clearing of a path to this particular summit. In a book co-written with Nancy, he traced the trajectory of German Romanticism and connected it to Nazism in L'Absolu littéraire (1978), translated as The Literary Absolute (1988), and then worked directly on one of the poets Heidegger was interested in, namely Paul Celan, in La poésie comme experience (1986), translated as Poetry as Experience (1999). He did not simply condemn Heidegger's philosophy out of hand, as many have, but argued instead that his philosophy contained pathways to a philosophical confrontation with Nazism that he failed to take. He did, however, condemn Heidegger for his silence on the Holocaust.

Further Reading:

J. Martis Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe: Representation and the Loss of the Subject (2005).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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