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Parasites

Exploitation and Interference in French Thought and Culture

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Matt Phillips and Tomas Weber

The word «parasite» evokes nearness and feeding: the Greek parasitos is «one who eats at the table of another». In biology, a parasitic organism is the beneficiary of an unequal relation with its host. The social parasite, too, is one recognized or misrecognized as the unproductive recipient of one-way exchange. In communications theory, meanwhile, static or interference («parasite», in French) is the useless information which clouds the channel between sender and receiver.

In 1980, Michel Serres’s Le Parasite mobilized the concept of the parasite to figure noises, disruptions, destructions and breakdowns at the heart of communication systems, social structures and human relations. Drawing on Serres’s work, the chapters of this volume – organized around two conceptual poles, exploitation and interference – examine French literature (Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Proust, contemporary poetry), film (Nicolas Philibert, Claus Drexel), art (Sophie Calle, contemporary «glitch art») and philosophy (Descartes, Serres, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari), alongside medieval hagiography, immunology, communications theory and linguistic anthropology. The volume thereby demonstrates the new and continued relevance of the figure of the parasite in thinking about transmission, attachment, use, abuse and dependency.

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Modern French Identities

Edited by Jean Khalfa

This series aims to publish monographs, editions or collections of papers based on recent research into modern French Literature. It welcomes contributions from academics, researchers and writers in British and Irish universities in particular.    Modern French Identities focuses on the French and Francophone writing of the twentieth century, whose formal experiments and revisions of genre have combined to create an entirely new set of literary forms, from the thematic autobiographies of Michel Leiris and Bernard Noël to the magic realism of French Caribbean writers.    The idea that identities are constructed rather than found, and that the self is an area to explore rather than a given pretext, runs through much of modern French literature, from Proust, Gide, Apollinaire and Césaire to Barthes, Duras, Kristeva, Glissant, Germain and Roubaud.    This series explores the turmoil in ideas and values expressed in the works of theorists like Lacan, Irigaray, Foucault, Fanon, Deleuze and Bourdieu and traces the impact of current theoretical approaches – such as gender and sexuality studies, de/coloniality, intersectionality, and ecocriticism – on the literary and cultural interpretation of the self.    The series publishes studies of individual authors and artists, comparative studies, and interdisciplinary projects and welcomes research on autobiography, cinema, fiction, poetry and performance art and/or the intersections between them.

Editorial Board

Contemporary Literature and Thought Martin Crowley (University of Cambridge) Francophone Studies Louise Hardwick (University of Birmingham) Jean Khalfa (University of Cambridge)Gender and...

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