Friday, May 29, 2009

Cornelius Castoriadis

Excerpt from the Translator/Editor's Foreword to Figures of the Thinkable (including "Passion and Knowledge")

With this second in a series of electro-Samizdat editions, which follows upon the publication a year ago of The Rising Tide of Insignificancy (The Big Sleep)
[RTI(TBS)] book-length translations into English of Cornelius Castoriadis's Carrefours du labyrinthe (Crossroads in the labyrinth) series are now complete.[1] Figures of the Thinkable (including Passion and Knowledge) [FT(P&K)] contains, with one exception, all texts selected for the single French posthumous volume of Castoriadis's Carrefours writings -- Figures du pensable (FP) -- plus one last major Carrefours text yet to be published in book form in English.[2] One task accomplished, others may begin.
~

It was, however, with constant self-questioning, enormous hesitation, and considerable trepidation that the anonymous Translator/Editor (T/E) began electro-Samizdat publication of Cornelius Castoriadis/Paul Cardan writings in December 2003.[3] These concerns have now been addressed and alleviated to a great extent by the vast out-pouring of interest and support the first such volume has garnered. Over 5,600 visits for this "public document file" were recorded in the first seven months, according to Bill Brown of the NOT BORED! website.[4] While internet statistics are not wholly reliable, it is fair to state that probably more people have obtained copies of this edition than of any other Castoriadis volume previously published in English.[5] A major article, in the leading American academic journal, on the controversy surrounding publication brought knowledge of Castoriadis's work to the nearly 100,000 subscribers of The Chronicle of Higher Education, most of the copies of which are reportedly seen by multiple readers.[6] Courses now propose RTI(TBS) chapters as suggested reading for young students quite adept at and used to procuring information on the web. And various left journals, on line and in print, have announced to their readers the easy availability of RTI(TBS). By all available accounts,[7] our first risky experiment in Castoriadis/Cardan internet publication for the third millennium has been an unmitigated success. Absent any positive or conciliatory movement on the part of the Castoriadis literary heirs (they have in fact rejected offers of third-party mediation), this initial success therefore seems to warrant a second trial.

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