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Thoughts and Things$
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Leo Bersani

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226206059

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226206196.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

Being and Notness

Being and Notness

(p.96) 6 Being and Notness
Thoughts and Things

Leo Bersani

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides, principally through a study of Pierre Bergounioux’s recent novel La Casse, a counter-argument to the book’s defense of connectedness. Bergounioux’s narrator desperately and unsuccessfully seeks to connect to his orphaned and solitary father. He fails to convince his father that they communicate within the Cartesian universal community of “thinking things.” The narrator attempts to escape from his human aloneness through disappearing into nonhuman matter (trees and junk metal). Does the father, the novel implicitly asks, provide a unique, indispensable path into a human community? Bergounioux’s work suggests but does not exploit the possibility of a more productive connection through the mother.

Keywords:   Pierre Bergounioux, La Casse, orphanhood, Rene Descartes, thinking thing, Arboreal being, metallic being, maternity

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