Since the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press in the sixteenth century, the medium of the book has mediated and transformed public spheres and private lives up to the present. During the last century, however, continental philosophers have not only read and written many books, but they have also used “the Book” as a figure for something much more than bound pages and movable type. This presentation loosely follows the journey that “the Book” has taken in recent continental philosophy, not as a mere physical object, but as a metaphysical image for the relationship between human beings and the world. This presentation draws from Lucien Febvre’s The Coming of the Book, Edmond Jabès’ Book of Margins, Jacques Derrida’s “End of the Book,” Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s ‘ontology of the book’ in On the Line, Jean-Francois Lyotard’s figural book, Maurice Blanchot’s The Book to Come, and more, all in order to both challenge and further the age old notion that the world is, and always has been, a book.
“Metaphysics of the Book?” UWO Theory Session, March 25, 2022