Toward the Outside: Concepts and Themes in Emmanuel LevinasMichael B. Smith $58.00
Published in 2005 | 282 pages | cloth | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0368-8
“Levinas's passion for commentary is clearly shared by Smith, and it shines through in his admirable study. It is impossible to avoid the feeling that he has inhabited Levinas's texts, that he has explored the intricacies and paradoxes of Levinas's enigmatic prose as only a translator can. Indeed, precisely due to his familiarity he is able to capture the quiet forcefulness of Levinas's work.” — Janus Head
“The book as a whole, display Smith's comprehensive understanding of Levinas's texts, and it is this breadth of knowledge that comprises the book's greatest strength.” — Heythrop Journal
“It is a pleasure to read a clearly written, jargon-free work about a Continental philosopher. . . . A good index and copious endnotes add to the features that make this a valuable resource for understanding an important French thinker.” — Choice"
Unlike many recent studies that have purported to examine the scope of Levinas's thinking, Toward the Outside is distinguished by its attention to texts from both of Levinas's two main genres: the philosophical and the confessional. Organized into three parts, the first examines key pairs of concepts⎯totality/infinity, same/other, saying/said, among others. Smith demonstrates a keen attunement to the development of Levinas's thought as an overall philosophical trajectory. In part 2, Smith more explicitly identifies themes that are essential to our better understanding of Levinas⎯Judaism and the Holocaust, temporality, Levinas's treatment of Husserl and Heidegger, Derrida's reading of Levinas, and others. Finally, in part 3, his commentary, based on close readings of selected Levinas texts, meticulously follows and highlights the development of Levinas's thought.
MICHAEL B. SMITH has translated a number of Emmanuel Levinas's works, including Alterity and Transcendence, In the Time of the Nations and Outside the Subject. He is the past president of CPJC (Continental Philosophy in a Jewish Context) and vice president of the Levinas Ethical Legacy Foundation.