Music, Philosophy and Gender in Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe, Badiou

Sarah Hickmott

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Analyses the role of music in the work of Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe and Badiou, and the role of gender in the philosophy of music
  • Analyses the role or characterisation of music in both well-known and lesser-known texts including Á l’écoute, Le Chant des Muses and Five Lessons on Wagner
  • Articulates the stakes of a musico-philosophical interaction, with a central focus on the way gender is deployed, understood or constructed within this nexus
  • Appeals to the growing interest in sound studies and/or sound cultures and an interrogation of the role of music in particular within this broader trend
  • Contributes to wider debates about the relation between aesthetics, ethics, philosophy and identity politics

What counts as music for contemporary thinkers? Why is music of use to philosophers and how do they use it in their work? How do philosophers decide what music is and what assumptions are uncritically inherited in this move? And what is the philosophical relationship between music and gender?

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  1. Music, Mousike, Muses (and Sirens)
  2. Music, Meaning and Materiality: Nancy’s Corps Sonore
  3. ‘Catacoustic’ Subjects and the Injustice of Being Born: Lacoue-Labarthe’s Musical Maternal Muse
  4. Midwives and Madams: Mus(e)ic, Mediation and Badiou’s ‘Universal’ Subject
  5. From Parnassus to Bayreuth: Staging a Music which Iis Not One

Encore: After MusicBibliography

Sarah Hickmott’s excellent book challenges essentialist notions of the autonomy of music, through a rigorous and insightful study of the musical philosophies of Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Alain Badiou […] It’s impressively written and, significantly, it’s a treat to read.
Robert Clarke, Culture and Dialogue
[...] this book will be valuable for readers interested in a survey of how the relation between music and gender manifests in the work of three influential French philosophers, but it can also be read more generally as a compelling and occasionally provocative call to interrogate the many ways in which the idea of music has been (and continues to be) deployed across academic disciplines and social discourses.
Andrew Kingston, H-France Review
Hickmott has written a work of fine scholarship and trenchant critique. It gives a persuasive overview of the role played by music in the philosophical tradition and the legacy of this the thought of Nancy, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Badiou, persuasively marking the limits of each, yet also offering an important and original account of the embeddedness of music in technical, social, and conceptual forms.
Ian James, University of Cambridge
Sarah Hickmott’s work has the qualities of being richly detailed and thought-provoking [...] a stimulating read.
John McKeane, University of Reading, Modern Language Review
Engaging brilliantly with the difficult question of what we talk about, philosophically and historically, when we talk about music, and specifically with what contemporary French philosophers have said about music and how they have said it, Hickmott delivers a robust and subtle critique of ‘musical exceptionalism’ in recent French thought.
Patrick Ffrench, King's College London
Sarah Hickmott is Assistant Professor in French at the University of Durham.

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