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Paris and modernism, seeking truth and mourning its elusiveness

. Modernist culture of the mid-20th century is by and large a culture of negativity – of absence, lack, void, death, otherness, non-being and non-identity – and Paris is its capital:  think Sartre, Blanchot, Beckett, Kojève, Lacan, Levinas, Barthes, Derrida. With Derrida.

All the mentioned luminaries had a desire for some solid truth while at the same time mourning its elusiveness.

Some of these thinkers (Derrida) had an aversion to the determinate that was  almost pathological. Yet determinacies can emancipate as well as destroy.

 There are those who need to obtain some reasonably exact knowledge of how the world stands with them in order to diminish their unhappiness, and there are those at the Collège de France who laboured under no such necessity.
This cult of the negative is no doubt a legacy of Mallarmé 

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