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From Bataille to BadiouLignes, the Preservation of Radical French Thought, 1987-2017$
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Adrian May

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940438

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940438.001.0001

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Immoral, Impure, Atheist Artists?

Immoral, Impure, Atheist Artists?

Developing a neo-Nietzschean Critical Ethos for the Twenty-first Century

(p.94) Chapter Three Immoral, Impure, Atheist Artists?
From Bataille to Badiou

Adrian May

Liverpool University Press

This chapter identifies the literary neo-Nietzschean critical ethos that defined the review from its opening issues, whilst also tracing how this ethos shifted in response to changes in the French social and political climate. The review’s progressive emphasis on anti-essentialist and post-foundational thought is contrasted to the return to Enlightenment thought, French values and communicational rationality proposed by Jürgen Habermas and Alain Finkielkraut. In contrast to the more abstract, conceptual emphasis of Derridean deconstruction, the review’s materialist approach to literary writing is demonstrated with particular reference to the works of Jean-Noël Vuarnet and Michel Surya. The review’s early, staunch secularism is then seen to become more tempered after scandals surrounding Islamic headscarves, laïcité, and the terrorist threats made towards Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen, Robert Redeker and Charlie Hebdo, as the review refuses to be drawn into outright condemnation of France’s stigmatised Muslim minority. Lastly, the review’s Nietzschean stress on amoral philosophy is seen to be more responsible than nihilistic when placed in the context of shifting social mores, especially regarding changing philosophical perspectives on paedophilia.

Keywords:   Michel Surya, Fethi Benslama, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean-Noël Vuarnet, laïcité, Charlie Hebdo, Paedophilia, Anti-essentialism, Post-foundationalism, The French Nietzsche

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