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Postmodern Fables

1999
Author:

Jean-François Lyotard
Translated by Georges Van den Abbeele

Postmodern Fables

An essential collection of moral tales--now in paperback!

This latest offering from one of the most important philosophers of our time is a collection of fifteen “fables” that ask, in the words of Jean-François Lyotard, “how to live, and why?” Here, Lyotard provides a mixture of anarchistic irreverence and sober philosophical reflection on a wide range of topics, paying particular attention to issues of justice and ethics, aesthetics, and judgment.

“Lyotard, one of the leading recent French philosophers and a founding figure of philosophical postmodernism, offers 15 notes on and against ‘postmodern aestheticization’ that address issues in aesthetics, politics, ethics, and philosophy. . . . These essays are thought-provoking and will interest readers of philosophy, literary theory, and cultural criticism who follow contemporary trends in theory.” Choice

A collection of moral tales from the author of The Postmodern Condition.
Paperback copy
This latest offering from one of the most important philosophers of our time is a collection of fifteen “fables” that ask, in the words of Jean-François Lyotard, “how to live, and why?” Here, Lyotard provides a mixture of anarchistic irreverence and sober philosophical reflection on a wide range of topics, paying particular attention to issues of justice and ethics, aesthetics, and judgment.

Acerbic, critical, relentlessly ironic, continually burning bridges and burning rubber, always at high risk and in high gear, Postmodern Fables throws down the gauntlet to any and all who idealize comfort. In sections titled “Verbiages,” “System Fantasies,” “Concealments,” and “Crypts,” Lyotard unravels and reconfigures idealist notions of subjects as various and fascinating as the French Revolution, the Holocaust, the reception of French thought in the Anglo-American world, the events of May 1968, the Gulf War, academic travelers as intellectual tourists, the collapse of communism, and his own work in the context of others’.

A biography of Jean-François Lyotard appears on the previous page.

Georges Van Den Abbeele is professor of French and director of the Davis Humanities Institute, the critical theory program, and the humanities program at the University of California, Davis.

ISBN 0-8166-2555-7 Paper $16.95
272 Pages April
Translation inquiries: Editions Galilée

Hardcover copy
This latest offering from one of the founding figures of postmodernism is a collection of fifteen “fables” that ask, in the words of Jean-François Lyotard, “how to live, and why?” Here, Lyotard provides a mixture of anarchistic irreverence and sober philosophical reflection on a wide range of topics with attention to issues of justice and ethics, aesthetics, and judgment.

Acerbic, critical, relentlessly ironic, continually burning bridges and burning rubber, always high risk and always in high gear, Postmodern Fables throws down the gauntlet to any and all who idealize comfort. In sections titled “Verbiages,” “System Fantasies,” “Concealments,” and “Crypts,” Lyotard unravels and reconfigures idealist notions of subjects as various and fascinating as the French Revolution, the Holocaust, the reception of French theory in the Anglo-American world, the events of May 1968, the Gulf War, academic travelers as intellectual tourists, the collapse of communism, and his own work in the context of others’.

An exciting addition to the oeuvre of this major thinker, Postmodern Fables is a series of self-reflective and intellectually daring essays that speaks to the contemporary American reader in thought-provoking and undoubtedly controversial ways.

Jean-François Lyotard is one of the principal French philosophers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Best known for coining the term “postmodern,” he is the author of numerous works, including The Postmodern Condition (Minnesota, 1984), The Differend (Minnesota, 1988), Heidegger and “the jews” (Minnesota, 1990), and The Postmodern Explained (Minnesota, 1992). Lyotard is professor emeritus at the University of Paris and professor of French at Emory University.

Georges Van Den Abbeele is professor of French and director of the Davis Humanities Institute, the critical theory program, and the humanities program at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Travel as Metaphor (Minnesota, 1992) and translator of Lyotard’sThe Differend.

Excerpt:
“I would love to describe the present situation in a way that had nothing of critique, that was frankly ‘representational,’ referential rather than reflective, hence naïve and even puerile. Something like a tale told in the manner of Voltaire. . . . In an informal fashion, of course, even a bit timid, as if this fable were the unavowable dream the postmodern world dreams about itself. A tale which, in sum, would be the great narrative that the world persists in telling itself after the great narratives have obviously failed.” from “The Wall, the Gulf, the System”

160 pages
Translation Rights: Éditions Galilée

Postmodern Fables

Jean-François Lyotard is one of the principal French philosophers and intellectuals of the twentieth century. Best known for coining the term “postmodern,” he is the author of numerous works, including The Postmodern Condition, The Differend, Heidegger and “the jews,” and The Postmodern Explained, all published by the University of Minnesota Press. Lyotard is professor emeritus at the University of Paris and professor of French at Emory University.

Georges Van Den Abbeele is professor of French and director of the Davis Humanities Institute, the critical theory program, and the humanities program at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Travel as Metaphor and translator of Lyotard’s The Differend, both published by the University of Minnesota Press.

Postmodern Fables

“Lyotard, one of the leading recent French philosophers and a founding figure of philosophical postmodernism, offers 15 notes on and against ‘postmodern aestheticization’ that address issues in aesthetics, politics, ethics, and philosophy. . . . These essays are thought-provoking and will interest readers of philosophy, literary theory, and cultural criticism who follow contemporary trends in theory.” Choice