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The Philosopher's Touch: Sartre, Nietzsche and Barthes at the Piano
Renowned philosopher and prominent French critic Fran?ois Noudelmann engages the musicality of Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Roland Barthes, all of whom were amateur piano players and acute lovers of the medium. Though piano playing was a crucial art for these thinkers, their musings on the subject are largely scant, implicit, or discordant with each philosoph ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Columbia University Press
(first published October 10th 2008)
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The Philosopher's Touch bubbled with interest. I maintain an interest in two of the three thinkers profiled. Barthes never resonated for me. I liked S/Z but largely I think for the wrong reasons. Anyone writing about (around? towards?) Balzac deserves some attention, don't they? It was also an interesting point that Sartre and Nietzsche were the subjects of biographies by Ronald Hayman. I love both of those books. Figurative warts are prominent. Noudelmann's project is very specific, the task of ...more
The author’s thesis is that playing music, and more particularly playing the piano, engages a unique disposition to the world. It brings about an affective state that Noudelmann characterizes as ‚active passivity’ and it allows us to free oneself from the collective rhythms of society. So rather than that the player relies on the instrument to express him/herself, the instrument brings about an oblique process of subjectification: „The subject who loves, perceives, and thinks, constructs itself ...more
A book that plays around with the concept that a philosopher has fun with music and it can, and does, represent the other sides to the major theory that is written down.Noudelmann plays with the reader and attempts to underpin the philosophical structure of Barthes, Sartre's and Nietzche's work by developing a series of ideas about their favourite composers and their relationship to the piano as an art form.Delightfully understated it is a work less of philosophy but more of a homage to the pian ...more