Why was it France that spawned the radical post-structuralist rejection of the humanist concept of "man" as a rational, knowing subject? In this innovative cultural history, Carolyn J. Dean sheds new light on the origins of post-structuralist thought, paying particular attention to the reinterpretation of the self by Jacques Lacan, Georges Bataille, and other French thinkers.
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Carolyn J. Dean is Charles J. Stille Professor of History and French at Yale University. She is the author of several books, including The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust and Aversion and Erasure: The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust, both from Cornell.Review:
"Carolyn J. Dean's book is an intelligent, well-researched, and thought-provoking study of an important problem in modern cultural and intellectual history. Focusing on the difficult work of Jacques Lacan and Georges Bataille, Dean furnishes a critical history of the decentered subject in early twentieth-century France―a history that has broader implications given the widespread influence of modern French thought."―American Historical Review
"Carolyn J. Dean's central question in this complex and allusive book is 'why has France been the home of a certain model of self-dissolution?’, and the answer is pursued largely in the criminolegal and psychoanalytical domain, eschewing the more literary ‘death of the author’ institutionalized by Barthes."―Modern Language Review
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