chapter  1
8 Pages

INTRODUCTION. LYOTARD ON MALRAUX: NIHILISM, ART AND POLITICS

One of the last books to appear before Jean-Fransois Lyotard's death (Paris, 20 April 1998) marks a baffling departure. Signé Malraux (1996) is a biography of the French twentieth-century writer, political activist and politician André Malraux. Why write a biography at the end of a career as a writer on philosophy, art and society? Why a biography within an æuvre that is resolutely post-structuralist in its opposition to the modern dominance of the self and the subject and to positivist conceptions of truth? There is no object or subject 'André Malraux'; only a patchwork of books, influences, languages, events, structures. Even if there were, to capture such a figure with its intentions, beliefs, feelings and desires would tell us little about the genesis of literature, the significance and truth of art, or the importance and function of politics.