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Mathieu Lindon

Core reading

Mathieu Lindon, Ce qu'aimer veut dire (2011) [Please buy the Folio edition]

Advance preparation for seminar discussion

Week 2

  1. Research Mathieu Lindon, his father Jérôme and the publishing house Les Editions de Minuit.
  2. Locate and analyse two book reviews of Ce qu’aimer veut dire online. What are the main criticisms of the book voiced in the reviews you found? And the main strong points?
  3. What do we learn about the author-narrator (his accomplishments, his personality and his approach to story-telling) in the opening section (‘Les larmes aux yeux’)?
  4. Would you say that the author-narrator had a privileged upbringing? If so, in what sense(s); if not, why not?
  5. What do we discover about the narrator’s father and his son’s view of him in the opening section?
  6. What do we learn of Michel in the opening section?
  7. Look closely at pp.24-25 (in which the twin foci of this tribute, Jérôme Lindon and Michel Foucault, are envisaged together) and be prepared to comment on this passage.

Student presentation task: Describe, discuss and evaluate the presentation of sex and relationships in Ce qu’aimer veut dire in the light of the interview with Michel Foucault in Lotringer (ed.).

Week 3

  1. Examine and comment on the narrator’s first encounters with drugs in the text.
  2. Analyse the narrator’s utopian vision of Michel’s flat as a perfect place of equilibrium in which to take drugs, as ‘un lieu rêvé pour ce genre de plaisir’. To what extent is this vision borne out in the text?
  3. Discuss pp. 119-121 (‘La drogue, je m’y familiarise.’ => ‘m’est-il répondu.’) and pp. 133-145 (the bad trip).
  4. Critique this text’s sympathetic presentation of ‘recreational’ drug-use.
  5. Describe some of the various quasi-familial roles which Michel plays for the younger men gathered around him.
  6. Overall, how likeable is the Michel presented in this book? (Justify your answer with reasons and examples.)
  7. How inclusive and open is the entourage around Michel Foucault?
  8. To what extent is the author-narrator’s a materialist – even a materialistic – way of seeing the world?

Read ch. 6 of Kane Race’s Embodiments of Safety

Student presentation task: Examine and evaluate drug use in this text in the light of ch.6 of Kane Race’s Embodiments of Safety.

Further reading


Slides will be posted here after the teaching sessions.