It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Monday, July 01, 2013

An introduction to Ivan Illich, en français

We've just learned of a book published in France late last year, Introduction à Ivan Illich, written by Thierry Paquot. Mr. Paquot, a professor of urban studies and architecture in Paris, was a friend of Illich's and frequent interpreter of his work. Among other things, he wrote Illich's obituary for Le Monde Diplomatique.

His new book, 128 pages long, is published by La Découverte. More information is available here and a brief article (in French, by one Thomas Le Guennic) about the book is posted here.


Meanwhile, we've also come across a paper, "Penser Ivan Illich," (translated as 'Why to think “with” Ivan Illich?') presented by Mr. Paquot in Nantes, France, last April. Dedicated to "Barbara" (Duden, we assume), it considers how Illich thought about things and used language. "[Illich] thinks in order to exist," he concludes, "aware that friendship is a miracle to be cultivated. And, knowledge is a path with no known destination." The paper, in PDF, is here.

As an urban philosopher, Mr. Paquot likes to think about many subjects. A book of his called The Art of the Siesta, has been published in English translation by Marion Boyars, Illich's publisher for many years:

a series of vignettes on the importance of the siesta in paintings, literature, and sculpture. In Preliminary, we hear of the rhythm of sleep, including the fear babies have of going to sleep. In The Midday Demon, death in life and erotic dreams take form. The last vignette, The Siesta Fights Back, shows how the economic necessities of Western society are conquering the siesta.

This is a translation from the French of a book that helps reinstate the values that the siesta stands for, with reference to philosophy, art and music. From mosques, where guards sleep under the protection of Allah, to 'slow-food' restaurants in Berlin in 2001, it explores the part sleep plays in human life.

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Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.