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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


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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