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Enigmas: Essays on Sarah Kofman

by Penelope Deutscher and Kelly Oliver Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 304 pages
AU$105.00 NZ$108.70
Product Status: Title is Print on Demand - May take 4 weeks
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The work of the distinguished philosopher Sarah Kofman has, since her tragic death in 1994, become a focus for many scholars interested in contemporary French philosophy. The first critical collection on her thought to appear in English, Enigmas evaluates Kofman's most important contributions to philosophy, psychoanalytic theory, feminism, and literary theory. These insightful essays range from analyses of Kofman's first book, L'Enfance de l'art (1970), to her last, L'Imposture de la beauté (1995).

This unique volume represents the major themes in Kofman's scholarship: literature and aesthetics; philosophy and metaphor; women, feminism, and psychoanalysis; and Jews and German nationalism. Selected essays explore and diagnose Kofman's personal struggles as they are reflected in her writing.

"Kofman is a typical product of the French Academy except that she brings an exceptional talent to the practice. The essays in this collection... establish this with considerable efficacy."

"The editors of Enigmas carefully negotiate the difficult boundary between establishing Kofman's legacy in order to preserve her work from the assimilation (notable to Derrida's) of which she often complained, and 'fixing' this legacy in a way that would be unfaithful to her constant emphasis on the instability of meanings and the heterogeneity of texts. They also deftly handle the issue of the relation between life and work that arises for any commemorative project, espousing Kofman's own conviction that to oppose biography and textuality is to reproduce, in inverse form, the error of conflating them."

"The editors of this volume remain faithful to Kofman's own insistence on the relationship between life and text, between living and writing. Since her death by suicide in 1994, Kofman's work has slowly been gaining its deserved recognition on the global scene, and this vitally interesting and diverse volume will certainly help that end.... The beauty of this volume lies in its quality and cohesiveness as a tribute to a philosopher's life, not just her work."

Penelope Deutscher is Associate Professor in Philosophy at Northwestern University. She is author of Yielding Gender: Deconstruction, Feminism, and the History of Philosophy and coeditor of Enigmas: Essays on Sarah Kofman, also from Cornell.

Kelly Oliver is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Her most recent book is Family Values: Subjects between Nature and Culture.