A New Negentropic Subject: Reviewing Michel Serres' Biogea

By A. Staley Groves

serres_biogea coverConveying to potential readers the significance of a book puts me at risk of glad handing. It’s not in my interest to laud the undeserving, especially on the pages of this journal. This is not a sales pitch, but rather an affirmation of a necessary work on very troubled terms: human, earth, nature, and the problematic world we made. It is this world that aspirates the silence (so to speak), and therefore the subject which, along with the development of the “made world” exports the excess augmentation of the cosmically missing, this silence of the natural, et cetera. Had we learned from Locke that lesson of “labor,” to consume what we need… but perhaps we need more than what matters?

Serres’ Biogea has several functions on this manner, if it is indeed a book to be consumed. First, readers searching for novelistic entertainment have a place to dwell. Biogea deserves a place in your back pocket; biographical generosity and poetic fluidity should satisfy most textual fetishes. For lay philosophers who want to refresh their acumen, Biogea deserves a place on the book shelf, one already reads a sorely needed postmodern tune-up here. Serres’ style is clearly French; he leaves few cheese crumbs on his words, rather preciseness and breathing in the work give way to a sweeping manner that breaks the narrative line of sight. A circular narrative and anachronistic fragmentation of terms allows an abyssal atmosphere to swell, if only to pump into the book the externality of its broader text. Biogea aspires to a higher standard and the book, at times, is thinking this negentropic problem too. Univocal, the publisher, has crafted a book appropriate for the hands to hold and the translations are an achievement of an otherwise difficult writer to translate.

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