Thoughts and Things

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Leo Bersani’s career spans more than fifty years and extends across a wide spectrum of fields—including French studies, modernism, realist fiction, psychoanalytic criticism, film studies, and queer theory.  Throughout this new collection of essays that ranges, interestingly and brilliantly, from movies by Claire Denis and Jean-Luc Godard to fiction by Proust and Pierre Bergounioux, Bersani considers various kinds of connectedness.

Thoughts and Things posits what would appear to be an irreducible gap between our thoughts (the human subject) and things (the world). Bersani departs from his psychoanalytic convictions to speculate on the oneness of being—of our intrinsic connectedness to the other that is at once external and internal to us.  He addresses the problem of formulating ways to consider the undivided mind, drawing on various sources, from Descartes to cosmology, Freud, and Genet and succeeds brilliantly in diagramming new forms as well as radical failures of connectedness. Ambitious, original, and eloquent, Thoughts and Things will be of interest to scholars in philosophy, film, literature, and beyond.

Author: Leo Bersani

Paperback Published July 2020 128 pages

"Thoughts and Things accomplishes more in its pages than some full bookshelves in my office. This is an original and intellectually consequential book that will become, like multiple past books by Bersani, a classic.”-Zahid R. Chaudhary, Princeton University
"It is one of the miracles of intellectual possibility that Leo Bersani, an indispensable thinker of disjunctions in the self and the intractability of violence, should also be our greatest theoretician of relational connectedness. The essays collected in Thoughts and Things show Bersani at the height of his powers, unpacking the paradox by which his theory of connectedness, of the relations that unite us in the oneness of being, rests not on a simple opposition to negativity but rather on a non-relation to it. In the tension informing that paradox, Thoughts and Things offers its readers the thing we so rarely get to encounter: the high-voltage current of living thought."-Lee Edelman, Tufts University
“From our preeminent philosopher of relationality comes a stunning meditation on the oneness of being.  With great tact and sophistication, this book mounts a critique of the misguided dualisms that separate self from world, mind from body, consciousness from the unconscious, and past from present.  In its ambition and originality, Thoughts and Things is classic Bersani, offering readers conceptually dense formulations—‘psychic time is unitary mobility’—that no other contemporary thinker could plausibly have uttered.”-Tim Dean, SUNY-Buffalo

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