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Such a Deathly Desire (SUNY Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy) Paperback – 9 Aug 2007


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Pierre Klossowski was one of the most influential (albeit idiosyncratic) literary figures in France during the postwar years, yet his work remains strangely unknown in the English-speaking world. Such a Deathly Desire was one of the essential books of Klossowski s oeuvre, and it includes seminal articles on Gide, Bataille, and Blanchot, as well as his now-classic essay Nietzsche, Polytheism, and Parody. The appearance of the book in English has long been anticipated, and we owe an immense debt to Russell Ford for providing us with an accessible and accurate translation. Daniel W. Smith, Purdue University"

About the Author

Russell Ford is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elmhurst College.


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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply involved in the intellectual insights 9 Oct. 2010
By Bruce P. Barten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Klossowski became extremely familiar with Nietzsche's The Gay Science when he translated it from German into French. The essays in Such a Deathly Desire begin and end with the lessons Klossowski found in Nietzsche. The expectation which Nietzsche created of an immortality from which he perished "and from which he will return in delirious transports" (p. 114) allows us to expect puzzling aspects of our lives to follow the patterns of games or art with the reason of fiction. Looking at the Church as an instance of profound imposters, Nietzsche called attention to:

The Church is a masterpiece of spiritual domination, and it required that impossible plebian monk, Luther, to dream of ruining that masterpiece, the last edifice of Roman civilization among us. The admiration Nietzsche always had for the Church and the papacy rests precisely on the idea that truth is an error, and that art, as willed error, is higher than truth. This is why Zarathustra confesses his affinity with the priest, and why, in the Fourth Part, during that extraordinary gathering of the different kinds of higher men in Zarathustra's cave, the Pope--the Last Pope--is one of the prophet's guests of honor. (p. 115).

The ways in which we communicate are inadequate to express our inmost emotional struggles, so we find delight in exploding the kinds of character that are limited to narrow utility. Aphorism 361 of The Gay Science explains how the actor may be peculiar in this way without being much different from the rest of us: "all of this is perhaps not only peculiar to the actor." (p. 115).
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