Monday, May 3, 2010

Cahiers pour l'Analyse: Online Edition

An online edition of Cahiers pour l'Analyse is now online. Many of our readers may already be familiar with the Cahiers without knowing it; between 1966-1969 the journal published important essays by prominent French thinkers such as Althusser, Canguilhem, Foucault, and Lacan. Many of those texts have already appeared in English. Go get your copy of Foucault's Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology, and turn to page 297, or your copy of the complete Ecrits, and read "Science and Truth." Those texts first appeared in the Cahiers. Althusser, Canguilhem, Foucault, and Lacan: I mention them because it explains the orientation of the Cahiers, and its emphasis on a formalized and rigourous approach to philosophy, which some of the younger contributors (such as Alain Badiou) never abandoned. As the overview states:
Edited by a small group of Louis Althusser's students at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the Cahiers pour l’Analyse appeared in ten volumes between 1966 to 1969 – arguably the most fertile and productive years in French philosophy during the whole of the twentieth century. Guided by the examples of Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser and Georges Canguilhem, the Cahiers were conceived as a contribution to a philosophy based on the primacy of concepts and the rigour of logic and formalisation, in opposition to philosophies based on lived experience or the interpretation of meaning.
The Cahiers were soon recognised as one of the most significant and innovative philosophical projects of its time. The journal published landmark texts by many of the most influential thinkers of the day, including Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Irigaray, Lacan, and Leclaire. Many of the young students and writers closely involved in the production of the Cahiers (e.g. Jacques-Alain Miller, Jean-Claude Milner, François Regnault and Alain Badiou) were soon to become major figures in French intellectual life. 
The part that I like best about the site at the moment is how the English language editors (led by Peter Hallward) have included the original French articles online to make them more accessible to researchers. It also includes a list of concepts and synopses developed by the editors of the English edition. The definitive version, including interviews with the contributors of the Cahiers and some translations will be launched in September 2010. This project is an example of the kind of scholarship that goes on at the philosophy department at Middlesex University, and why it is in the interest of those who study contemporary French philosophy that such a department is not shut down by the university's administration

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