The debut of Examined Life gives Avital Ronell a celebrity that will amaze her, please her, and puzzle her, all at once. Choosing Avital as one of the principals in the film could hardly have been a better choice. She shares rare virtues with Butler, Zizek, Nussbaum, and West: an enormous intellectual range, as deep as it is wide; the courage to confront all kinds of tyranny, especially the dogmatic kinds; a firm faith in the importance of teaching; and a restlessness that keeps her always moving forward, though with many a backward glance. But she is also unique, a clear reminder that intellectual brilliance differentiates. With humor, passion, and perpetual inventiveness, she incarnates the American voice of continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literature.
Our press has had the privilege of publishing her work for the past decade, including Stupidity, The Test Drive, reprints of Dictations: On Haunted Writing and Crack Wars, and most recently The Ãœberreader, a hearty sampling of her heterogeneity. A collection of essays on her work, Reading Ronell, edited by Diane Davis, is forthcoming later this year, and a translation of her interviews, published as American Philo in Paris, is due next year.
If you love thinking, if you think Goethe and Dostoyevsky are worth thinking about, if you’ve ever doubted what doubt can do, you owe yourself a date with Ronell’s writing.