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The Life Intense

A Modern Obsession

Tristan Garcia
Translated by Abigail RayAlexander, Christopher RayAlexander, Jon Cogburn

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Analyses our modern obsession with intense experiences in terms of the metaphysics of intensity

Our lives today are oppressed by the demand that we live, feel and experience with ever greater intensity. We are enticed to try exotic flavours and smells; urged to enjoy a wide range of sexual experiences; pushed to engage in extreme sports and recreational drugs – all in the pursuit of some new, unheard-of intensity.

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Series Editor’s Preface
Translators’ Introduction
1. An Image
2. An Idea
3. A Concept
4. A Moral Ideal
5. An Ethical Ideal
6. An Opposing Concept
7. An Opposing Idea
8. An Opposing Image

About the Author

Tristan Garcia is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lyon III and an award-winning novelist. He is the author of La vie intense: Une obsession moderne, translated into English as The Life Intense: A Modern Obsession (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and Forme et objet. Un traité des choses (PUF, 2011), translated into English as Form and Object: A Treatise on Things (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). His other philosophical works include L’Image and Nous. His fictional works include Les cordelettes de Browser, En l’absence de classement final and Mémoires de la jungle. In 2008, he received the Prix de Flore for La meilleure part des hommes, translated into English as Hate: A Romance.


Tristan Garcia demonstrates how at the most encompassing level of contemporary social roles lives the Romantic consumerist, forever seeking spiritually heightened experiences: what he like Pater calls intensity. We’re all Baudelaires now. Ecological ethics and politics ignores this at its peril: all that talk of efficiency and anti-consumerism seems to want to bypass this inconvenient truth. An ecological future must voyage through intensity…and for that we need maps. Garcia establishes some key coordinates for such a mission.

- Timothy Morton, author of Being Ecological

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