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Agamben's Philosophical Lineage$
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Adam Kotsko and Carlo Salzani

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423632

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423632.001.0001

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Introduction: Agamben as a Reader

Introduction: Agamben as a Reader

(p.1) Introduction: Agamben as a Reader
Agamben's Philosophical Lineage

Adam Kotsko

Carlo Salzani

Edinburgh University Press

One of the greatest challenges Giorgio Agamben presents to his readers is the vast and often bewildering range of sources that he draws upon in his work. His books, written in an elegant and refined style that is also extremely dense and almost elliptical, venture into fields as diverse as aesthetics, religion, politics, law and ethics, with an uncommon erudition that ranges from ancient sources to medieval, modern and contemporary works in various disciplines and fields. Moreover, his peculiar ‘Italian’ style often plays with the ‘unsaid’ and practises the Benjaminian art of ‘quoting without quotation marks’, so that the reader is confronted not only by a wide range of sources, but also by a subtle and not always transparent use of them. The present volume aims to guide the reader through the maze of Agamben’s sources, rendering explicit what remains implicit and providing a reliable guide to his reading of the many figures he draws from. Yet a preliminary task is required, namely that of unpacking Agamben’s own idiosyncratic ‘style’ as a reader, his philological/philosophical method of approaching a text, and the peculiar ‘use’ he puts his sources to. This is no minor task, since not only are Agamben’s style and method extremely idiosyncratic, often challenging the norms of traditional philosophical writing, but they are also indissolubly intertwined with the ‘content’ of his writings, and are as such an essential component of his philosophical proposal.

Keywords:   Giorgio Agamben, Tradition, ENTWICKLUNGSFÄHIGKEIT

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