Unspeakable Subjects: The Genealogy of the Event in Early Modern Europe

Jacques Lezra

Unspeakable Subjects: The Genealogy of the Event in Early Modern Europe
Stanford University Press
United States
1 June 1997

Unspeakable Subjects: The Genealogy of the Event in Early Modern Europe

Jacques Lezra

In groundbreaking readings linking works of Descartes, Shakespeare, and Cervantes with contemporary revisions of Freud and Nietzsche, Unspeakable Subjects argues that the concepts and discourses that have come to define European modernity the subject s extension and responsibility, genealogies of intention and of freedom, the literary, legal, and medical construction of the body, among others arise as strategies for evading a profound redefinition of the nature of events in early modern Europe. Negotiating the often competing claims of rhetorical reading and cultural analysis, Lezra reassesses the grounds of literary and philosophical history as a materialist practice of eventful reading. His original accounts of Don Quixote, Descartes s Second Meditation and Regulae, and Measure for Measure tack between linguistic, psychoanalytic, and cultural materialist approaches to define and discuss the double aspect of the event in early modern literature and philosophy, and in Freudian and Heideggerian critical discourse: the event is at once an accident, the unpredictable, deontic intrusion of the empirical in idealizing schemes, and the disclosing and recollecting of a subject s relation to discursive and cultural morphologies in which empirical events are said properly to take place.

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