This Is Not a Pipe (Quantum Books)

By Michel Foucault

What does it suggest to jot down "This isn't really a pipe" throughout a bluntly literal portray of a pipe? René Magritte's well-known canvas offers the start line for a pleasant homage by means of French thinker and historian Michel Foucault. far better recognized for his incisive and mordant explorations of energy and social exclusion, Foucault right here assumes a extra playful stance. by way of exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visible critique of language, he reveals the painter much less got rid of than formerly proposal from the pioneers of contemporary abstraction.

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2. The size of Ceci n 'est pas une p ipe makes this advent the inaccurate position to regard the main points of Magritte 's existence and profession greater than in short . For additional details, the easiest English resource is Magritte b y Suzi Gablik (Greenwich, Conn . : ny picture Society , 1 971 ) . Harry M. Torczyner's Magritte: rules and pictures (New York: Abrams, 1 977) is a wonderful anthology of either plates and first records (letters, and so on . ) for the intense Magritte student. three. Bernard N oel , Magritte (New York: Crown guides, Inc . ) , p . seventy nine. four. Michel Foucault, The Order of items , a translation of Les Mots et les choses (New York: Pantheon, 1 nine 7 zero) , p. forty eight. five. Ibid . , pp. 36-37. 6. Ib identity . , p . nine . 7. T w o problems come up the following . O n e stems fro m Magritte 's personal hugely idiosyncratic use of the time period resem blant , " similar to . " whereas the painter observed the trouble and expressed convinced reserva­ tions (see the 1st letter to Foucault) , he sincerely understood and recommended the excellence Foucault used to be drawin g . the opposite con­ fusion arises fro m the observe similitude . it may possibly most sensible be translated as " likeness , " "similarity , " or perhap s " a likeness . " Un­ thankfully, within the Order of Things-a paintings whose relation to Ceci n 'est pas une p ip e is sort of intimate-similitude has been trans­ posed unchanged. it's not that i am keen on similitude = "similitude, " yet fo r the sake of consistency i've got long gone alo n g . eight. within the heritage of Sexu a lity, quantity I , for instance, Robert Hurley' s translation solely omits the a number of resonances and references to Alice in ' Wonderland . Notes to Pages 60 1 5-3 1 1 . Pipes 1. Lefon de choses , actually " l esson of items . " An allusion to the name of a 1 947 Magritte canvas, in addition to a 1 960 movie approximately magazine ritte made by way of Luc de Heusch. Magritte additionally wrote an essay to which he gave the titl e . 2. " D awn at t h e E n d s of t h e Earth , " t h e identify of a b o o ok with illustrations via Magritte. A ctually, Magritte ' s pipe and its wry subscript seem in an entire sequence of work and drawing s . there's additionally a pun o n t h e note aube , which c a n suggest both "dawn" o r "float . " three. "The Wrestlers ' Tomb . " four. "The conflict of the Argonne. " 2. 1. The Unraveled Calli gram A n untranslatable pun. Le "nom d 'une p ip e " is a delicate o r euphe­ mistic oath at the order of " for Pete ' s sake" while substituted for " fo r God's sake . " within the previous comment , Foucault ' s element is that the slang expression has entered speech so integrally as to develop into idiomatic, with audio system utilizing it with out consciously attendin g its l iteral meanin g . 2. A p o e m whose phrases a r e prepared i n such style a s to fo r m an image o f i t s "topic , " t h e calligram is linked heavily with Apollinaire-who used to be, actually, one among Magritte's favourite writers . within the surprise of the recent , Robert Hughes speculates that magazine ritte ' s pipe w a s painted a s a " riposte" to Le Corbusier, w h o h a d in 1 923 held up the picture o f a pipe as a picture o f natural functionalism .

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