Sylvère Lotringer (1938 – 2021)

Sylvère Lotringer (15 October 1938 – 8 November 2021) was a French born literary critic and cultural theorist. Initially based in New York City, he later lived in Los Angeles and Baja California, Mexico. He is best known for synthesizing French theorywith American literary, cultural and architectural avant-garde movements as founder of the journal Semiotext(e) and for his interpretations of theory in a 21st-century context. He is regarded as an influential interpreter of Jean Baudrillard’s theories, among others. … In 1964, he entered the École Pratique des Hautes Études, VIe section (Sociology) writing a doctoral dissertation on Virginia Woolf’s novels under the supervision of Roland Barthes and Lucien Goldmann. His work was aided by his friendship with Leonard Woolf and his acquaintance with T.S. Eliot and Vita Sackville-West, with whom he conducted interviews published in Louis Aragon‘s journal Les Lettres Francaises during his ten years as a correspondent. … Arriving in New York City in the early 1970s, Lotringer saw the opportunity to introduce French theorists whose work at that time was largely unknown in the US to the city’s artistic and literary community. Playing chess in the West Village with John Cage, he sensed similarities between Thoreau and the ‘chance operations’ being practiced by Fluxus, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and others, and the Nietzsche-inspired post-structuralist theorists. Uninspired by the doctrinaire post-Frankfurt School Marxism of the American Left, he sought to introduce independently the more fluid and rhizomatic ideas of power and desire developed by Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Michel Foucault. In his book on French Theory‘s influence in the U.S., François Cusset wrote that Lotringer and Semiotext(e) ‘played a breathtaking role in the early diffusion of French theory,’ positioned along the ‘porous border between the university and the countercultural networks.’ A few years later Lotringer discovered Paul Virilio‘s theory of speed and technology and Baudrillard’s analysis of consumer culture’s infinite exchangeability, introducing them in turn into American political discourse. …”
Theory Daddy
Semiotext(e) written by Entropy
MIT Press: Sylvère Lotringer
Frieze: Sylvère Lotringer

This is the nineteenth in Entropy’s small press interview series, where we ask editors about their origins, their mission, and what it’s like to run a press. 

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