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Ahmed the Philosopher: Thirty-Four Short Plays for Children and Everyone Else Paperback – April 29, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a terrific translation of an intriguing play. In it, Badiou translates the most fundamental elements of his philosophy, including his critique of multiculturalism, his theory of the event, and his ruminations on love, into a vivid, dramatic form. The text makes an excellent introduction to Badiou.

(Martin Puchner, author of The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theater and Philosophy)

Joseph Litvak's translation of Ahmed the Philosopher is smart, eloquent, and truly a delight to read. The play is a timely work, addressing questions of great political and social seriousness and contemporary relevance with an ironic yet never bitter eye.

(Kenneth Reinhard, director, UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory)

With Alain Badiou's acclaimed Ahmed the Philosopher now available in this expert English translation, a new public will discover what many in the Francophone world already knew: Badiou, premier theorist of the politics of the subject and the logics of worlds, is also a brilliant playwright! A 'red' Molière by way of Aristophanes who has invented an experimental language that combines slang and philosophical concepts in a new theatrical idiom.

(Emily Apter, New York University)

An outline of philosophy as a series of commedia dell'arte lazzi, Badiou audaciously stages his thought under the theatrical cover of the improvisations of Ahmed, a philosopher, punster, and thinker from the banlieux of Paris. These skits - slapstick, profound, scatological - insist on the political significance of Badiou's thought even at its most abstract. Joseph Litvak deftly translates these Brechtian fables into an American idiom without surrendering the peculiarities of the French context to which, as Litvak's excellent introduction and notes suggest, they very much belong. Richly stage-worthy, intellectually provocative, and at times as funny as Harry Frankfurt - really the only comparison among contemporary philosophers who comes to mind - this volume is also perhaps the best introduction to Badiou's thought available in English.

(Martin Harries, University of California, Irvine, author of Forgetting Lot's Wife)

About the Author

Alain Badiou is a philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, and professor emeritus at the École normale supérieure in Paris. He has published many philosophical works, including Being and Event and Logics of Worlds, as well as the play Incident at Antioch: A Tragedy in Three Acts.

Joseph Litvak is professor of English at Tufts University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231166931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231166935
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is philosophy to be staged theatrically. This is to say, this is philosophy to be performed. Full of humor and fun. Many traditional philosophical concepts are shed new light. Inherent significance of these concepts is uprooted. As the sub-title suggests, this is philosophy (actually, philosophies) for children. But this is in the sense that everyone of us should become children again by taking a fresh look on these things. Each play lasts for a few pages only and thus reading them is like watching cartoon episodes. I wish that I can watch these plays live. I further wish that parents will tell these stories to their children, just to let them know that (as the author suggests) philosophy should be full of joy, and to do philosophy is to separate oneself from oneself, in other words, to transcend oneself.
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By Daniel Erickson on February 7, 2015
Format: Paperback
Playwrights, actors, philosophers, teachers, and most importantly children should all read this text as soon as they can. It is so immense, so ceaselessly intense, and constantly hilarious. Badiou approaches philosophy as a necessary activity and one of the most tiring of activities available to human beings, but he never makes it less than joyful. Just as shouting dreams and glories to the heavens all day long will tire out your voice, this work of the laughing philosopher who pulls you along and makes you laugh until you think (and vice versa) makes the reader tired in the most important ways. Read these plays. Hear these plays. But always, always enjoy them.
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By Chung Choon Soo on November 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Surprisingly hilarious!
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