New: The Philosophy Of Klossowski

Pierre Klossowski was one of the most influential figures in 20th Century French thought, but his work remains relatively unknown and little understood today. Praised by Lacan, Foucault and Deleuze for his work in philosophy, he was also an adventurous novelist during the period of the nouveau roman, and in later life became celebrated as a prolific visual artist. An early associate of Georges Bataille, brother of the painter Balthus, a precursor to 1970s theories of libidinal economy and a defender of Nietzsches theory of eternal recurrence, Klossowski is a unique and consequential figure whose philosophical and aesthetic itinerary is well worth attention in its own right. This course starts with an analysis of Klossowskis early works on Sade and aggressivity, heads towards a confrontation with his version of eternal recurrence (Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, Such a Deathly Desire), and concludes with an assessment of the recently translated Living Currency.

Who is this course for

This course is for those who are interested in 20th century French thought and who would like to explore some of its less well-known and more marginal undercurrents. It is at an Advanced level and so might not be suitable for people who are completely new to studying philosophy. Klossowski's writing is challenging, both in its style and content, but the aim of the course is to clarify his main concepts and theories. Some knowledge of Nietzsche's philosophy would be an advantage, but is not essential. It could work as a continuation course for students who have previously studied on our Intermediate level courses and who now want a course that will look at the work of a particular philosopher in some depth.

What does this course cover

The course will give a chronological account of Klossowski's work, starting from his early essays from the 1930s. New translations of this early work will be provided. The course will then move to a discussion of Klossowski's central work, Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, and will conclude with a discussion of his 1970 book Living Currency. Although it is focussed on Klossowski's philosophical work, we will also discuss his novels, visual art and work in film.
By the end of the course, students should have a grasp of Klossowski's theory of subjectivity, his significance within the context of French thought in the mid-twentieth century, and of why his work was so influential on theorists such as Lacan, Deleuze, Foucault and Lyotard.

What will it be like

Sessions will generally begin with a 25 minute presentation, then move to the analysis of texts, and open out from there into a general discussion of the ideas covered. We will assess your expectations of the course in the first sessions. Thereafter, you will be able to monitor your progress on the course through participation in class discussion. At the end of the course, you will be able to measure your progress against the stated outcomes for the course.

What else do you need to buy or do

You do not need to buy any books for this course. Reading material will be distributed in photocopy starting from the first session. If you would like to prepare for the course, you could read the following essays 'On Some Fundamental Themes in Nietzsche's Gaya Scienza', in Klossowski, Such a Deathly Desire (SUNY, 2007), and 'Sade and the Revolution', in Klossowski, Sade my Neighbour (Quartet, 1992).

What this course could lead to

Other Advanced level Philosophy courses at the Mary Ward Centre or other similar establishments. Other courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences with a strong emphasis on theory and the study of the mind and human behaviour(e.g., Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, History).

mwc logo

I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’