Althusser, The Infinite Farewell

Book Pages: 184 Illustrations: Published: May 2018

Author: Emilio de Ípola

Translator: Gavin Arnall

Politics > Political Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Critical Theory, Marxism

In Althusser, The Infinite Farewell—originally published in Spanish and appearing here in English for the first time—Emilio de Ípola contends that Althusser’s oeuvre is divided between two fundamentally different and at times contradictory projects. The first is the familiar Althusser, that of For Marx and Reading Capital. Symptomatically reading these canonical texts alongside Althusser’s lesser-known writings, de Ípola reveals a second, subterranean current of thought that flows throughout Althusser’s classic formulations and which only gains explicit expression in his later works. This subterranean current leads Althusser to move toward an aleatory materialism, or a materialism of the encounter. By explicating this key aspect of Althusser’s theoretical practice, de Ípola revitalizes classic debates concerning major theoretico-political topics, including the relationship between Marxism, structuralism, and psychoanalysis; the difference between ideology, philosophy, and science; and the role of contingency and subjectivity in political encounters and social transformation. In so doing, he underscores Althusser’s continuing importance to political theory and Marxist and post-Marxist thought.


"Althusser, The Infinite Farewell is a pleasing, innovative and useful book on the philosophy of Louis Althusser. . . . A significant addition to the secondary literature on Althusser, based on both his own biographical experience and some serious digging in the archives. This short book deserves a place on the shelves of all of those who value Althusser as a serious thinker." — Derek Wall, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

“Emilio de Ípola's Althusser, The Infinite Farewell is one of the most important books ever written on Althusser, not least because it offers a reading of Althusser from a perspective that is neither European nor North American. De Ípola's account brings structuralism to life and demonstrates the relevance of structuralism's questions and problems to our own time. De Ípola suggests that, seen from Latin America, reading and understanding Althusser is not a return to the past, but a confrontation with the most profound contradictions of the present.” — Warren Montag, author of Althusser and His Contemporaries: Philosophy’s Perpetual War

“Putting his unique theoretical acumen at the service of a striking methodological approach, Emilio de Ípola greatly enhances our understanding of the genealogy of structuralism. Along with his systematic exposé of the two Althussers, the classical and the esoteric, de Ípola also offers a lyrical portrait of his own trajectory as an intellectual, his time in exile during Argentina's military dictatorship, and the intellectual scene in Paris. I cannot think of another slim volume that does such a good job outlining Althusser's work.” — Bruno Bosteels, author of Marx and Freud in Latin America: Politics, Psychoanalysis, and Religion in Times of Terror


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Emilio de Ípola is Distinguished Professor at the University of Buenos Aires and the author of several books in Spanish.

Étienne Balibar is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Université Paris Nanterre, and the author of Equaliberty, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Translator's Acknowledgments  ix
Translator's Note on References  xi
Foreword / Étienne Balibar  xiii
Prologue. Althusser?  1
1. The Past, That Strange Land  10
2. The "Classic" Althusser and His Slips  29
3. The Traps of Ideology  64
4. The Solitary Hour  82
Conclusion. Althusser's Last Lesson  103
Notes  111
Bibliography  141
Index  149
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-7024-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-7015-4
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