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The Telephone Book: Technology - Schizophrenia - Electric Speech Paperback – 1 Jun 1989


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Review

"A breakthrough work within the universe of academic publications./i>--Warren Lehrer "Designers & Books "

About the Author

Avital Ronell is an associate professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, "Dictations: On Haunted Writing" (1986), treats Goethe's invention of remote control in writing.

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Stunning 17 Feb. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a playful, yet serious look at technology and its relation to the philosophy that defines our 20th-century thinking and the metaphysical breakdown it embodies. Ronell's writing is often beautiful, and the typeset of the book is highly original and interesting. Addressing Heidegger, Graham Bell, psychoanalytic thinking and other such topics, all via telephonics, this book challenges its readers in a creative, critical way.
9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Work of Art 30 Dec. 2008
By Benjamin Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a masterpiece of typography. This is not mentioned enough on the amazon page here. As the book delves further into the schizophrenic/paranoid meditation on the concept of telephones, the text parallels the writing's insanity in the form of angled passages, strangely uncomfortable size variations, and some truly mind-bending blurred words. I was very intrigued by the notions of the telephone and its place in our world. It truly is an insane machine that we all take for granted. The book is very verbose, but anything less would undermine its authority and its lingual nature. I have to emphasize again how much value this book holds as a physical object. It is tall and narrow, black with subtle raised squares on the cover. The masterful use of text inside amplifies the sense of mystery and dread relating to its subject. It's like a tome, containing the untold secrets of our docile little telephones.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Undangerous Plaquedemics 28 Jun. 2015
By Robert M. Koretsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Emperor has no clothes on! There is nothing dangerous in this plaquedemic comic book, like in dangerous and subversive. Example of something dangerous: Derrida's association of language and racism as he targets apartheid, very dangerous even now when the 1830's slave-owner rhetoric is mouthed by 21-year-old's in South Carolina. I looked through every single page of this book and could not find a dangerous, subversive idea! But wait a second, why write anything at all if it isn't dangerous and subversive? Heaven forbid you should jeopardize your tenure status or the value of your 401K holdings at TIAA/CREF! The author of this book should be locked away in an American gulag in Antarctica, doing something useful like making shoes for us. You will never see anything dangerous written by a plaquedemic, that kind of stuff is very carefully screened from you, so you keep buying stuff like this book. Another work from the heterotopia of plaquedemia. On one hand you have the philosophers of Mind that are the embodiment of the status quo (See my review of Stephen Carey), and on the other hand you have nonsense like this that achieves the same exact thing. Pass me those chips, will ya, and can you turn up the TV volume a bit more?
ps - Even D. Harlan Wilson has sucked up to plaquedemia! What a sellout!
8 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Avital is Cool-- 18 Jun. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
those who want to protect the "integrity" of academia would not enjoy this book, but what can I say? Avital is a punk. She does not ask you to love her. Yet I find her writings generous; those who always feel to be orphans of society can understand what is going on in this book as well as her "Crack Wars" and recent "Stupidity." She is very much interested in transforming the world. I am contiually inspired by her writings. Aside from Nietzsche, she is the only one who has shown me that philosophy can be rock n roll.
23 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Jarring. 26 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This work is a deeply depressing, albeit necessary reading for all those concerned about the decline and fall of the American Academy today. Its "thesis" is scarcely original, and in Ms. Ronell's hands, is nothing more than a hackneyed metaphor standing in for reasoned analysis; it is abysmally organized, losing even its main threads of discussion along the way. Most depressing of all is that in an attempt to mask her lack of critical substance, Ms. Ronell makes continuous and absurd resort to obscurantist rhetoric and sheer, unmitigated jargon. If nothing else, the book is a sign of the times, exemplifying the arrogant disregard for even minimal scholarly standards that so prevails in American literature departments (she is apparently on the German faculty at NYU: can this be true?), and leading to the sad realization that such individuals are taking the place of legitimate, accomplished scholars, and are teaching our students how to think and write. For all these reasons this is a truly demoralizing book, though a must read for any parent contemplating sending his/her child to university for training in literary and cultural studies.
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