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Being and Event Paperback – July 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (July 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082649529X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826495297
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 4.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two things are new in this much-anticipated translation of Badiou: the language and the preface. Both are instructive. Translator Oliver Feltham stayed "as close as possible to Badiou's syntax" but "at the price of losing fluidity." The logic behind this sacrifice being that Badiou's syntax does its own philosophical work; the unfortunate result being that many sentences, though elegant in French, are wounded in English. For example, this hop-along on Marxism: "That the dialectic of its existence is not that of the one of authority to the multiple of the subject." Thankfully, Badiou addresses such dissonance and his larger philosophical goals in an indispensable new preface-without which the 37 weighty meditations might be lost to the layperson. Even with the new preface, those reading Badiou or Continental philosophy for the first time might experience something intellectually akin to running into the ocean. (Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil is a slimmer, more accessible introduction to this novelist, and playwright and professor at Ecole Normale Superieure.) Otherwise it takes a miracle to understand the four theses of this work, organized as they are into a chevron consisting of Being, Event, Truth, Subject. Badiou is concerned with the potential for profound, transformative innovation in any situation. His approach is part mathematical (Candor's set theory), part rationalist (Anglo-American), part poetic (Continental) and part textual (11 legends of philosophy are confronted "on singular points"), but his ideas are intensely rarified. Recommended for specialists.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Two things are new in this much-anticipated translationof Badiou: the language and the preface. Both are instructive. TranslatorOliver Feltham stayed 'as close as possible to Badiou's syntax' but 'at theprice of losing fluidity.' Thankfully, Badiou addresses such dissonance and hislarger philosophical goals in an indispensable new preface—without which the 37weighty meditations might be lost to the layperson. Recommended..." — Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

"A variety of scholars, including philosophers, mathematicians, and intellectual historians, would do well to examine this volume and seek in it threads that warrant continued examination in an era of nanotechnology and political terrorism."- Francisca Goldsmith, Library Journal, April 1, 2006

(Library Journal)

"Badiou's approach is unique, rigorous, and interesting..." - Jill Stauffer, Theory & Event

"[Badiou] develops, in the central passages of the book, his central notions of situations and events, and devotes many, often arresting pages to elucidating the mechanism by which the latter productively disrupt the former. The structure of experience is not merely open to change, pregnant with contingent revolution. This is a nice model and Badiou deploys it across a broad front." - Hugh Lawson-Tancred for The Liberal


“Two things are new in this much-anticipated translationof Badiou: the language and the preface. Both are instructive. TranslatorOliver Feltham stayed 'as close as possible to Badiou’s syntax’ but 'at theprice of losing fluidity.’ Thankfully, Badiou addresses such dissonance and hislarger philosophical goals in an indispensable new preface—without which the 37weighty meditations might be lost to the layperson. Recommended…” – Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

"Badiou’s approach is unique, rigorous, and interesting…" - Jill Stauffer, Theory & Event

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Customer Reviews

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Badiou's work is something of a hybrid.
P. Nagy
Unfortunately none has appeared and until a more comprehensive and useful review is written, I hope these brief comments will help.
MK
It is an excellent if very difficult work.
Ralph Rivera

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

189 of 202 people found the following review helpful By MK on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had been hoping for some time that someone would write a review for this long-awaited translation. Unfortunately none has appeared and until a more comprehensive and useful review is written, I hope these brief comments will help.

(A brief disclaimer. This review does not summarize or critique the arguments in this book--it would be unjust to attempt to do so in the space of a few paragraphs. I hope only to give some indication of the relevance of this work for those who are interested in Badiou's work and/or those who have heard the name "Badiou" and are trying to find a way in to what his work is all about. If my comments are elliptic or obscure because I use Badiou's terms without providing explication, this is only because I hope that I give enough indication of the direction of his ideas to promote the reading of the actual text.)

Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the quality of the translation, since I have not seen the French text. Feltham's familiarity with Badiou's work is unquestionable, however. He was, for example, one of the editors of the collection "Infinite Thought" (also published by Continuum). He has also contributed to a recent issue of `Polygraph' devoted to a discussion of Badiou's work (#17, 2005).

Until this translation, American readers were denied significant access to Badiou's philosophical method and concepts. The key sources were commentaries by people like Peter Hallward, Keith Ansell-Pearson, and Eric Alliez (and, of course, Slavoj Zizek). The closest one got to Badiou himself was the collection called "Theoretical Writings" (also published by Continuum).
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Kingman on June 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Let us imagine the plight of a naive reader who comes to us (because we, for the sake of argument, are people who appear to "know something of philosophy") and says, "I am interested in reading some philosophy because I know philosophers are people who try to grapple with the things of the world in thought, and it seems useful to be acquainted with that sort of thing, but I find it just so difficult! Philosophers are always referring in cryptic ways to other philosophers and using specialized language and I am never sure that they are even discussing things that are relevant to my life at all! It makes my head spin! For example, I hear that to understand Hegel, one must first understand Kant, and to understand Kant one should be acquainted with Hume, which necessitates a knowledge of Descartes, and to know what any of them are talking about requires familiarity with Plato and Aristotle! I don't have the time or the discipline to study the entire history of philosophy, and I can't read everything all at once, so what do I do?"

We could perhaps be helpful by responding thus, "I understand what you mean! Becoming acquainted with a philosophical vocabulary is a time consuming and often thankless process. Nonetheless, it is helpful to realize that philosophical thought is always grappling with the world in a particular context and from a certain historical juncture. It is usually easier to read and understand things that are closer to our own context, more in tune with our own zeitgeist, if you will. Therefore I recommend that you find the one serious philosophical treatise that is most contemporaneous and work your way through it as a starting point.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jake F on February 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This isn't a review of the book's content, but rather one of the book itself: I'm particularly irritated by the manner in which the paperback text was bound. Although I'm reluctant to actually go ahead and do so to see, I don't think it's possible to fully read each page all the way to the margin without breaking the spine of the text. Was Continuum just trying to save money on paper by condensing the margins, or what? Particularly as one nears the middle of the book, it becomes exceedingly difficult to read the entirety of the verso sheet.

Quite frustrating. Not to suggest that Verso's publications are any better, nor any less expensive for the poor quality - the publishing market for leftist theory seems to have a major form / content problem going on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Rivera on August 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My purchase arrived very quickly, as promised. It is an excellent if very difficult work. For those who are interested in reading this rewarding, but difficult text, I recommend that you also order Christopher Norris' reader guide which is also published by Continuum. It is very helpful.
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23 of 36 people found the following review helpful By pierre on May 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Perhaps because I am French and know this book for a long while, it has not for me the charm of novelty and I am not so fascinated by it. Badiou's application of the set theory to the ontology of history is never really justified in his work. "The mathematicians dream when they come to being", said once Plato. Morever, the style - except for the presentation of some aspects of Gödel's theorem - is gothic, sometimes really obscure and, at least in French, dated. If you like a certain posture, both dogmatic and despiseful for all that is not Badiou's thought (except Heidegger, strangely interpreted, and Marxism), you should read this opus. "Being and Event" did not have a strong impact on european philosophy - outside a small circle of disciples - and I doubt very much that it will have one on american thought.
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