New Book: Boulez, Music and Philosophy

This looks interesting:

Boulez, Music and Philosophy by Edward Campbell

Series: Music in the Twentieth Century

Cambridge University Press

While acknowledging that Pierre Boulez is not a philosopher, and that he is wary of the potential misuse of philosophy with regard to music, this study investigates a series of philosophically charged terms and concepts which he uses in discussion of his music. Campbell examines significant encounters which link Boulez to the work of a number of important philosophers and thinkers, including Adorno, Lévi-Strauss, Eco and Deleuze. Relating Boulez’s music and ideas to broader currents of thought, the book illuminates a number of affinities linking music and philosophy, and also literature and visual art. These connections facilitate enhanced understanding of post-war modernist music and Boulez’s distinctive approach to composition. Drawing on a wide range of previously unpublished documentary sources and providing musical analysis of a number of key scores, the book traces the changing musical, philosophical and intellectual currents which inform Boulez’s work.


1. Preparing the ground; 2. Early influences and movements; 3. Dialectic, negation and binary oppositions; 4. Boulez, Adorno and serial critique; 5. Deduction and the scientific model; 6. Serialism and structuralism; 7. Post-structuralist encounters; 8. Boulez, difference and repetition; 9. Expanding the virtual; 10. Continuity and discontinuity of space and time; Conclusion; Bibliography.

Björk interviews Arvo Pärt

Also, BBC Proms–around 8 minutes and 30 seconds of the program–has a broadcast of Part’s Fourth symphony and an interview preceding the performance (hurry, it will disappear soon): here

The monotonous ursurpation of “the Other”

Here are the first few paragraphs of an article (or review), “Back to the Other Levinas: Reflections prompted by Alain P. Toumayan’s Encountering the Other: The Artwork and the Problem of Difference in Blanchot and Levinas,” by Michael Fagenblat (incidentally, I’ve been enjoying his new book on Levinas in my non-existent spare time):

Since the exultant reception of Levinas work, particularly in the United States, an imposing obstacle to this oeuvre has steadily been erected. It is not Levinas complicated, often unstated philosophical disputations, nor his exhortatory style, nor even the originality of his argument that constitute the most formidable obstructions to his work today. On the contrary, the greatest difficulty today is the ease with which Levinas is arrogated, a facility that risks making him so accessible as to be wholly irrelevant. The ubiquity in contemporary intellectual circles of an ethics of the other leads, from ever diverse paths, directly to Levinas; and it is just this that prevents us from reading him well. Continue reading

Madness of the Day (Blanchot)

I found The Madness of the Day (trans. Lydia Davis) on scribd:

I am not learned; I am not ignorant. I have known joys. That is saying too little: I am alive, and this life gives me the greatest pleasure. And what about death? When I die (perhaps any minute now), I will feel immense pleasure. I am not talking about the foretaste of death, which is stale and often disagreeable. Suffering dulls the senses. But this is the remarkable truth, and I am sure of it: I experience boundless pleasure in living, and I will take boundless satisfaction in dying. I have wandered: I have gone from place to place. I have stayed in one place, lived in a single room. I have been poor, then richer, then poorer than many people. As a child I had great passions, and everything I wanted was given to me. My childhood has disappeared, my youth his behind me. It doesn’t matter. I am happy about what has been. I am pleased by what is, and what is to come suits me well enough. Is my life better than other peoples lives? Perhaps. I have a roof over my head and many do not. I do not have leprosy, I am not blind, I see the world—what extraordinary happiness! I see this day, and outside it there is nothing. Who could take that away from me? And when this day fades, I will fade along with it—a thought, a certainty, that enraptures me. I have loved people. I have lost them. I went mad when that blow struck me, because it is hell. But there was no witness to my madness, my frenzy was not evident: only my innermost being was mad. Sometimes I became enraged. People would say to me, Why are you so calm? But I was scorched from head to foot; at night I would run through the streets and howl; during the day I would work calmly.

Withdrawn Even From Myself (As An Object)

According to the latest twist of OOO mind-bending doctrine, “objects or substances are withdrawn from themselves – I have no clue what this is supposed to mean, but I will take it on faith that this paradoxical formulation (which is a nicer way of saying “this nonsense”) is true, which means I myself withdrawn from myself (as an object). Right?

In any case, speaking of withdrawing – I know it’s affected and vain to announce things (and, yes, doing it knowingly is even more affected and vain, but nonetheless), but I think I will take a short break from blogging. Fall semester is here, books need to be read, deep thoughts need to be thought and snark needs to be polished. Hopefully, by the time I return OOO will still be producing beautiful nonsense for me to mock. Levi Bryant’s monumental volume will finally see the light of the day and I will stop being irritated by his references to his yet-not-published book as if it has already hit the shelves and everyone’s read it. Graham Harman will probably write 13 more books about everyone and everything (including one on South American butterflies and Amish goat cheese). Tim Morton will produce a dozen or so of YouTube videos in which he will address the non-existent audience and explain some intricate point of his profound thought. Ian Bogost will probably make more snarky remarks about adjuncts or not being a Marxist.


Reading Group on Nussbaum’s Not For Profit

The Philosophy teaching blog, In Socrates’ Wake, is hosting a reading group on Nussbaum’s Not For Profit. Here are the details:

The start of our online reading group on Nussbaum’s Not for Profit is August 25. I’m also pleased to announce that in addition to posts from the regular ISW contributors and a concluding comment from Martha Nussbaum, Timothy Burke will be guest posting during the reading group. Tim is a specialist in African history, but also dabbles in U.S. popular culture. His blog Easily Distracted is one of the most long-standing, and in my estimation best, academic blogs out there (and indeed, I’ve linked to Tim’s work a number of times here at ISW: on assessment and institutional transparency, students’ impulse to use phrases like ‘fails to consider’ in their writing, and most recently on tenure). I never fail to learn something and be provoked Tim’s posts on teaching and higher education, so I know he’ll offer valuable insights on humanities education from a non-philosopher’s point of view.