v. 1 : cloth ISBN 9780226144283
When he died in 2004, Jacques Derrida left behind a vast legacy of unpublished material, much of it in the form of written lectures. With "The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume I", the University of Chicago Press inaugurated an ambitious series, edited by Geoffrey Bennington and Peggy Kamuf, translating these important works into English. This volume, now in paperback, launched the series with Derrida's exploration of the persistent association of animality with sovereignty. "The Beast and The Sovereign" are connected, he contends, because neither animals nor kings are subject to the law - the sovereign stands above it, while the beast falls outside the law from below. An astonishing array of texts - from La Fontaine's fable "The Wolf and the Lamb" to Machiavelli's "Prince" - come into critical play as Derrida focuses in on questions of force, right, justice, and philosophical interpretations of the limits between man and animal.
v. 2 : cloth ISBN 9780226144306
"The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume II" is the latest entry in the University of Chicago Press' ambitious series of translations of Jacques Derrida's previously unpublished written lectures. Picking up where the previous volume left off, "Volume II" extends Derrida's exploration of the fascinating connections between animality and human sovereignty. In the second part of this seminar, originally presented in 2002-3, Derrida focuses on what at first appear to be two markedly different texts: Heidegger's "The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics" and Daniel Defoe's classic novel "Robinson Crusoe". Shuttling back and forth between the two works, Derrida investigates a number of key concepts and provides ingenious interpretations of both texts. Sovereignty remains his primary concern as he reflects on the political history of the dominion of humans over animals in Defoe's England and on diverse readings of "Robinson Crusoe" through the centuries and, in particular, from Heidegger's Germany in the 1930s. Solitude provides another connection between the two books as Derrida links the indivisible uniqueness of a king with Crusoe's solitary plight.
Both consolidating and broadening Derrida's deconstructive critique of sovereignty, "The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume II" is a rich repast, offering everything from striking insights into Heidegger's use of language to surprising digressions that reveal the contours of a lively intellect deeply engaged with the world.
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