“Lyotard is a demanding thinker, complex and a strain to live with.
He takes paths that are the other side of where most of us are going”
(Gary Browning, Lyotard and the End of Grand Narratives, vii.)
--Lyotard, I hazard, would have been quite pleased with this observation)
Lyotard is “something of an anomaly. Lyotard has, in a number of respects, remained on the margins of an orthodoxy which defined itself precisely in terms of its focus on, and celebration of, the marginal.”
--Peter Dews, “Review: The Letter and the Line: Discourse and Its Other in Lyotard,”
Diacritics 14, 3: Special Issue on the Work of Jean-François Lyotard (1984): 39-49, 40.
Lyotard was “a polymath of a special sort. … A philosopher steeped in phenomenology, a militant for pluralist thinking, an esthetician of the figural, Lyotard staked out territories for innumerable scholars in literature, the arts, politics, and ethics, as well as in more recently recognized fields such as gender studies and postcolonialism.”
--Robert Harvey and Lawrence R. Schehr,
“Editor’s Preface,” Yale French Studies 99 (2001): 1-5, 1.
“at first sight, [Lyotard’s oeuvre is] more remarkable for its shifts and breaks than for any continuity,” but it is also not entirely discontinuous.
--Geoffrey Bennington, Lyotard: Writing the Event
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1988), 1.
“in every subject he took on, in all these heterogeneous projects, Lyotard was interested in what resists within them and in the dangers of resisting and thus concealing this heterogeneity and this resistance.”
Michael Naas, “Lyotard Archipelago,” Minima Memoria: In the Wake of Jean-François Lyotard,
ed. Claire Nouvet, Zrinka Stahuljak, & Kent Still (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 176-96, 180.
“A work can become modern only if it is first postmodern.
Postmodernism thus understood
is not modernism at its end
but in the nascent state,
and this state is constant”
(Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge,
trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 79).
“The postmodern would be that which, in the modern,
puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself;
that which denies itself the solace of good forms,
the consensus of a taste which would
make it possible to share collectively
the nostalgia for the unattainable;
that which searches for new presentations,
not in order to enjoy them but in order to impart
a stronger sense of the unpresentable”
“which refuses the consolation of correct forms …
and inquires into new presentations--
not to take pleasure in them
but to better produce the feeling
that there is something unpresentable.”
--Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Explained to Children: Correspondence 1982-1985,
trans. Julian Pefanis & Morgan Thomas (London: Turnaround, Power Institute of Fine Arts, 1992), 24.
“In the immediate aftermath of its publication, it served as a cultural signpost
pointing towards the postmodern and away from modernity”
(Gary Browning, Lyotard and the End of Grand Narratives
(Cardiff, England: University of Wales Press, 2000), 21).