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Book of the week: The Life Intense - A Modern Obsession by Tristan Garcia


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.' Timothy Morton, author of Being Ecological.

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.

Tristan Garcia argues that such intensity rarely lives up to its promise. It always comes at a price: one that defines the ethical predicament of contemporary life.

The notion of intensity was the hidden key to Garcia’s landmark book Form and Object. In The Life Intense, the first part of his ambitious Letting Be trilogy, he begins to develop it in detail. This first book focuses on ethics; the forthcoming two books look at politics and metaphysics respectively.

The Life Intense was translated from the French by Abigail RayAlexander, Christopher RayAlexander & Jon Cogburn, and is published by Edinburgh University Press.


Tristan Garcia is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Lyon III and an award-winning novelist. He is also the author of Forme et objet. Un traité des choses, 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.

Abigail RayAlexander Christopher RayAlexander & Jon Cogburn co-translated The Life Intense.Abigail RayAlexander is Assistant Professor of French at the University of Southern Indiana. Christopher RayAlexander is Adjunct Professor of Spanish at the University of Southern Indiana. Jon Cogburn is Associate Professor pf Philosophy at Louisiana State University.

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