Althusser and Levinas
This chapter considers the influence of the war on the works of Althusser and Levinas. Althusser’s period as a POW prepared the way for his conversion to Communism and his becoming the foremost Marxist thinker of his generation; and in his life and writing, the issue of incarceration dramatically re-emerged when he killed his wife, Hélène. Levinas was a naturalized Frenchman, originally from a Jewish family in Lithuania, when war broke out. His experiences as a POW consolidated his distancing from the phenomenology of Husserl and Heidegger and laid the way for his position as a highly influential ethical thinker whose work was particularly important for the ethical turn of poststructuralism.
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