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Mastery of many sorts emerge in new configurations in Peter Burger's The Thinking of the Master: as an idea developed by Hegel in the master-slave dialectic in his Phenomenology of Spirit; as a quality embodied in the work of certain twentieth-century maitres de pensee, or "master-thinkers"; and, not least, in the expertise of Burger himself, as he negotiates and clarifies a critical intersection of contemporary French and German thought. Author of the classic Theory of the Avant-Garde, Burger here considers what several seminal thinkers-Bataille, Blanchot, Barthes, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, Heidegger, as well as novelist Michael Tournier-owe to Hegel's dialectic, and measures their accomplishments against the avant-garde project. Succinct, witty, and instructive, each of his essays in this volume stands alone as a valuable exposition of a significant strain of postmodern thought. Together, they illuminate much of the landscape of twentieth-century intellectual and cultural history.
Itself a rare encounter between contemporary German and French thought-in which the author, unlike many of his German counterparts, actually confronts the texts of the French thinkers he discusses-The Thinking of the Master also constitutes a departure for Burger, marking a shift from a Marxist-Hegelian model of thought to one that opens up to the heterogeneous energies of avant-garde thinking and writing. Thus this short and powerful book, as it reveals and reenvisions the meetings and divergences of recent developments in the European intellectual tradition, will at the same time revise and expand Peter Burger's already considerable status as a mediator in the tradition he helps toexplain.

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Peter Burger is the author of Theory of the Avant-Garde

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