The Philosopher's Touch by Francois Noudelmann
Sartre, Nietzsche, and Barthes at the Piano (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism)

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Music is a significant object of reflection for contemporary philosophers, yet little has been written on the interplay of music and thought. François Noudelmann critically engages the musicality of Barthes, Sartre and Nietzsche, all of whom were amateur piano players, giving an insightful reading of their work in light of their music. The practice of playing the piano was crucial to these philosphers, but their writing on the topic was scant, implicit, or in discordance with their philosophical oeuvre. Noudelmann reveals how the manner in which they played, the composers they explicitly and secretly adored, and the music they chose to write about is telling of these philosophers’ writing styles and thinking patterns. Noudelmann invites us to imagine the physical and theoretical practice of music as a dimension underpinning and resonating with their philosophical work proper. He thus unearths new perspectives on the philosophical trajectories of the three. Noudelmann has an elegant command of the texts under study, and understands the discursive points and concerns of philosophical and musical theorists of recent decades. He also brings to the work of Barthes, Sartre, and Nietzsche a sense of lived, embodied experience, raising the question of the relationship between philosophy and the senses, a philosopher’s life and thought.

About Francois Noudelmann

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Fran?ois Noudelmann is professor of philosophy at l'Universit? Paris VIII. He has taught at The State University of New York, Stony Brook, and Johns Hopkins University, and he has served as president of the College International de Philosophie and host of France-Culture's radio program Philosophy Fridays. His publications include Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Image et Absence: Essai Sur le Regard.Brian J. Reilly is visiting assistant professor of French literature at Johns Hopkins University.
Published January 10, 2012 by Columbia University Press. 178 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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In this revealing look at an unexamined commonality in three major philosophers’ lives, Noudelmann, French philosopher and critic, examines amateur piano players Jean-Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Roland Barthes in light of their brief writings on the subject, which are curiously and fr...

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Philosopher's Touch: Sart...

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philosopher François Noudelmann asks in The Philosopher's Touch: Sartre, Nietzsche, and Barthes at the Piano.

Mar 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Philosopher's Touch: Sart...

Inside Higher Ed

“Although he claims that Schumann’s music is, through some intrinsic quality, made for being played rather than listened to,” writes Noudelmann, “his arguments can be reduced to saying that this music involves the body that plays it.” Such ardor is at the other extreme from the modernist perspe...

Jul 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Philosopher's Touch: Sart...

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