Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 42%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $15.00   
  • New (7) from $15.00   
  • Used (1) from $22.25   


Giorgio Agamben is a philosopher well known for his brilliance and erudition, as well as for the difficulty and diversity of his seventeen books. The interest which his Homo Sacer sparked in America is likely to continue to grow for a great many years to come. Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction presents the complexity and continuity of Agamben's philosophy—and does so for two separate and distinct audiences. It attempts to provide readers possessing little or no familiarity with Agamben's writings with points of entry for exploring them. For those already well acquainted with Agamben's thought, it offers a critical analysis of the achievements that have marked it.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[D]e la Durantaye's critical introduction for Stanford's increasingly impressive work in continental philosophy . . . assist[s] in clarifying why Agamben's philosophy deserves our attention . . . [de la Durantaye] shows a delicate touch in noting important conceptual connections many might overlook in the primary sources."—Benjamin Hutchens, Philosophy in Review

"Leland de la Durantaye has not only offered an illuminating and provocative account of Agamben's most important work, he has also made this philosophical corpus appealing and accessible to a very broad audience—to all those interested in aesthetics, literature, ethics, and political theory. Carefully attuned to the multiple voices of Agamben's rich polyphony, in both a theoretical and historical sense, this book generously invites the reader to consider and reflect upon some of the most pressing issues in contemporary thought." —John Hamilton, New York University

"Readers of Giorgio Agamben have long yearned for a guide to his work. This book is just such a guide: comprehensive, erudite, reliable, up-to-date, accessible, and properly critical. Leland de la Durantaye traces meticulously the development of concepts and terms in Agamben's oeuvre and provides future scholarship with a sound footing."—Wlad Godzic, University of California, Santa Cruz

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804761437
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/10/2009
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 1,497,730
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Leland de la Durantaye is the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of English at Harvard University. He is the author of Style is Matter: The Moral Art of Vladimir Nabokov and Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations of Agamben's Works xii

Preface: The Law of the Good Neighbor xviii

Introduction: The Idea of Potentiality 1

Scholium I The Inoperative 18

Scholium II On Creation and Decreation 21

Scholium III Heidegger's Potential, or Creative Terminology 24

Chapter 1 Art for Art's Sake: The Destruction of Aesthetics and The Man Without Content 26

Scholium I Benjamin and Heidegger, or Poison and Antidote 53

Scholium II The Potentiality of Art 55

Chapter 2 A General Science of the Human: Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture 56

Scholium: On Erudition 79

Chapter 3 A Critique of the Dialectic: Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience 81

Scholium I Benjamin's Theses on the Philosophy of History, or The Floodgates of Enthusiastic Misunderstanding 111

Scholium II The Now of Knowability 113

Scholium III Kairos 116

Scholium IV Dialectics at a Standstill, or Means and Ends 117

Chapter 4 The Pure Potentiality of Representation: Idea of Prose 121

Scholium I The Art of Citing Without Quotation Marks 145

Scholium II The Idea of Benjamin 148

Scholium III Reading What Was Never Written 151

Scholium IV The Storyteller 154

Chapter 5 From Spectacle to Shekinah: The Coming Community 156

Scholium I Jacques Derrida and Aher, or The Cutting of the Branches 184

Scholium II The Idea of Pornography 192

Scholium III Guy Debord, Strategy, and Political Ontology 195

Scholium IV On Hope, Redemption, and the Irreparable 197

Chapter 6 The Potential of Paradigms: Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life 200

Scholium I Progress and Catastrophe, or Clear and Present Dangers239

Scholium II Paradigm and Dialectical Image, or The Shadow of the Present 243

Chapter 7 The Unique and the Unsayable: Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive. Homo Sacer III 247

Scholium I What Is a Remnant? 298

Scholium II On Genius, or Heidegger's Poison and Benjamin's Antidote 303

Scholium III Eternal Recurrence of the Same, or Nietzsche and the Potentiality of the Past 314

Chapter 8 The Suspended Substantive: The Open: Man and Animal 324

Chapter 9 The Exceptional Life of the State: State of Exception. Homo Sacer II.1 335

Scholium I Adorno, Profanity, and the Secular Order 360

Scholium II Carl Schmitt, or Politics and Strategy 363

Chapter 10 The Messiah, or On the Sacred and the Profane 366

Conclusion: The Idea of the Work 383

Notes 391

Bibliogrpahy 441

Index 455

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)