The Matter of Books

Jean-Luc Nancy

in On the Commerce of Thinking

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230365
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235476 | DOI:
The Matter of Books

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It is not the unit of a sense, but of a matter that carries the promise of thinking. By means of a peculiar relation to liber, Baum, and Buch in German; book in English, the tree and the book have the same root, derived from engraved wood. Wax, wood, papyrus, parchment, vellum, luminous screen—what is always involved is sensitive matter, a supple and ductile thickness that offers self for cutting or imprinting, that is capable of accepting the mark and retaining the trace without taking away from it its transitory character, its potential effacement: a collection or gathering [recueil], a reverent contemplation [recueillement], and a fugitiveness, a forgetting, a fragility.

Keywords: book; matter; thinking; tree

Chapter.  417 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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