A life Among Conceptual Characters 

A life Among Conceptual Characters  application/pdf icon

New Literary History, special symposium on Latour and the Humanities edited by Rita Felski. Vol. 47, 463-476, 2016


Oddly enough, I am able to date with a perfect degree of precision my connection with writing as a thought producing activity: 13th of October 1961. Even the hour — 7 pm — is inscribed on the cover page of the first of my personal diaries! As far as I can tell, the fourteen-year old writer had already made the connection between writing and thinking since he had penned as an incipit: “J’y noterai tous les soirs mes activités et surtout mes pensées’’ (« I will report what i do and above all my thoughts »). The “above all” is especially pleasant since at this early age he had no thought whatsoever to jot down! At least not yet. Because, as everyone in the field of humanities suspects, thinking follows and does not precede writing — at least this highly specific form of thinking associated with mid-century bourgeois European techniques of scribbling. Considering that today I am taking notes in a (by now digital) notebook numbered 212, this means I have been allowed for the last fifty-five years to continuously learn what I should think through the deciphering of some twenty thousand pages of personal pattes de mouche! squiggles. (?)