Critical lives: jean-francois lyotard 


  • Price: £11.99
  • ISBN: 1780238088
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Edition Size: 2000
  • Pages:224
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Illustrations:27
  • Dimensions in mm: 200 x 130

Jean-François Lyotard is one of the most important, and complex, French thinkers of the twentieth century. Best known in the English-speaking world for The Postmodern Condition, the multifaceted nature of Lyotard’s work has often been obscured by its sometimes problematic association with the postmodern. His life refuses to follow the clear trajectory common to academics in France: it stalls and hesitates, with Lyotard’s first ‘career’ consisting of fifteen years of militant Marxist political engagement. Kiff Bamford traces this circuitous journey, unravelling the thrust of Lyotard’s main philosophical arguments, his struggle with thinking and his confrontation with the task of writing and thinking philosophy in a different way. These all take place within a series of very particular contexts: the Algerian war, an experimental university established at Vincennes and a sustained engagement with the visual arts. This is a compelling portrait of a challenging subject.

Critical Lives is a major series of short critical biographies that present the work of important cultural figures in the context of their lives. Each book relates and brings alive the life of the artist, writer, philosopher or architect in question and assesses their major works at the same time. Published by Reaktion Books, London and distributed in the United States by the University of Chicago Press.


‘A magisterial introduction to a complex but important thinker that elucidates and contextualises the writer in equal measure.’
– Andy Stafford, Senior Lecturer in French Studies, University of Leeds and author of Roland Barthes

‘An impressively detailed survey of Jean-François Lyotard’s work and cultural milieu, that fills a real gap in Lyotard studies . . . illuminating and nicely-pitched.’
– Stuart Sim, Professor in Critical Theory at Northumbria University, Newcastle and editor of The Lyotard Dictionary

‘Remarkably astute and thoroughly researched . . . an intellectual biography of this caliber, depth, and breadth is hard to come by.’
– Roger McKeon, Driftworks editor and translator

Dr Sue Miller

Reader / Leeds School Of Arts

Dr Sue Miller is a Reader in music, teaching on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses in performance and production. As an academic and practitioner she specialises in popular music analysis, improvisation, ethnomusicology and performance.