Jean Baudrillard ~ Cool Memories V

Cool Memories

‘Theory is never so fine as when it takes the form of a fiction or a fable. write Baudrillard in Cool Memories V- the latest in a series of aphoristic journals that covers the period 2000-4. During these years Baudrillard re-emerged strongly in the international arena with his trenchant and controversial essay The Spirit of Terrorism, developed his work as a photographer, and found he had cancer.

As his attack on the insanities of ‘hyperreality’ grew more radical, Baudrillard came to display an ever more marked penchant for the aphoristic style he had long admired in such writers as Canetti, Lichtenberg and Nietzsche. ‘Aphorizein,’ he writes, ‘from which we get the word “aphorism”, means to retreat to such a distance that a horizon of thought is formed which never again closes on itself.’ Cool Memories are carnets, notebooks, but these are notes for keeping the horizon of thought open within a daunting sphere of ideas that is no less than ‘a jungle, a nature red in tooth and claw.’ ‘Mentally and affectively’, he writes, ‘we have remained hunters. At every moment, in thought and writing, there is a prey and a predator. And survival is a miracle.’

Caustic, audacious and dazzlingly droll, Cool Memories V will be rewarding reading for anyone concerned with the debates about postmodernism and the current state of theory in the social sciences and humanities.

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