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By Eleanor Kaufman

The laudatory essay, within which one writer praises the paintings of one other, is usually characterised as an unimportant, even uncritical mode of writing. yet as Eleanor Kaufman argues in The Delirium of Praise, this mode of trade is severe and enormous sufficient to advantage scholarly recognition. via no longer conforming to straightforward practices of severe discourse, laudatory essays supply new prestige to supposedly inferior different types of communique and states of being—including chatter, silence, ailment, imbalance, and shortage of work—and emphasize affective states or feelings akin to pleasure, friendship, and longing.

The Delirium of Praise examines a bunch of 5 twentieth-century French intellectuals—Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Pierre Klossowski—and their laudatory essays approximately one another. based as a round sequence of exchanges, the booklet examines pairings of 2 thinkers with appreciate to a given subject matter. The trade among Bataille and Blanchot takes up the topics of chatter and silence in regards to the novelist Louis-René des Forêts; the Blanchot-Foucault alternate explores friendship and impersonality throughout the lens of Jacques Derrida; the Foucault-Deleuze alternate considers "absence of work" ( désoeuvrement) and the vague French thinker Jacques Martin; the Deleuze-Klossowski trade revolves round the query of the ill physique and the individual of Nietzsche; and the ultimate alternate among Klossowski and Bataille makes a speciality of imbalanced economies and the writings of the Marquis de Sade. the place the compliment is so much over the top, impending delirium, Kaufman locates a robust thought-energy that pushes the laudatory essay to its limits. In her end, she provides this particular mode of concept trade as a kind of highbrow hospitality.

Kaufman uncovers a suspension of subjectivity, of character, even of position and time, that's either articulated within the laudatory essays and enacted by means of them. Her exam of this ignored mode as practiced by way of 5 very important French thinkers bargains a distinct point of view on twentieth-century highbrow history.

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Extra resources for The Delirium of Praise: Bataille, Blanchot, Deleuze, Foucault, Klossowski (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

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One might consider them as a game of thought. The expression “jeu de la pensée” [game of thought] is used by both Bataille and Blanchot in writing about the other. It is concomitant with a certain rigor of engagement to the other that is strictly measured out in increments of speech and silence. In “Ce monde où nous mourons” [This world where we die], Bataille’s  review of Blanchot’s Le Dernier Homme [The Last Man ], he elaborates on this thought-game: “The game of thought requires strength, rigor such that, at another angle, the strength and rigor required for the game’s construction give the impression of a laxity.

In what follows, I will situate friendship within the context of the Foucauldian concepts of the “care of the self,” “thought from the outside,” and the “companion” and will point out how these concepts underscore and extend the Blanchotian and Derridean conceptions of friendship. ”38 Friendship, then, would not only reflect a relation of impersonality with the other, but beyond this, a fundamental alienation and separation from the self, one that would prevent a proper caretaking of the self.

So complete and perfect that its like has surely never been read of, and nothing comparable is to be seen among the men of our day. ”9 Here, Montaigne implicitly makes an extraordinary claim for his friendship with La Boétie. Since theirs is one of these perfect and complete friendships, it follows that their coming together as friends is just this type of singular event that only takes place every three centuries. Glauser is quick to note both the underside and the overly sublime aspect of such a statement: “This is to speak with little friendliness of the friendships of others; in order to defend his friendship, [Montaigne] must deny the others.

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