Julian Wolfreys starts with loss. All memory is the memory of loss…
All that we are, all we experience, all we remember, all that we forget but which leaves nevertheless a trace on us, in us, a trace that countersigns and writes us as who we are (in effect the constellated matrix of Being’s becoming): this is a process of loss. This just is loss. Loss is who we are.
Loss is authentically the necessary and inescapable inessential essence of Being. Loss names the ghosts, the revenants of Being, Being’s others. Neither there nor not there, loss persists as the always already becoming of the thinking of Being. There is more than one loss. There is no one loss. Loss never arrives for a first time. All loss is the return of what is lost to Being’s being in the world.
From that starting point, the author explores the nature of being and dwelling… of memory and the nature of the traces of the past… of apparition and appearance and perception… of touch and being touched… of the material and the (a)material. In a book that draws in multiple threads from 19th- and 20th-century European literature, he references extensively Heidegger, Derrida, Lacan, Cixous, Celan, Husserl, Woolf, Joyce, Hegel, Badiou, Rilke, Merleau-Ponty, Winterson, Stockhausen and True Detective in an impressive and eclectic tour of the being-becoming-loss.
Students, researchers and teachers with an interest in the themes of loss, memory, absence, translation and differance in literature, contemporary media and philosophical thought. Anyone with a detailed interest in Derrida and/or phenomenology.
'You'd have to be dead to know more about ghosts than Julian Wolfreys.' Martin McQuillan, Univ. of Leeds
"Haunted Experience is an extraordinary tour de force: a sequence of meditations that starts in the manner of Cioran's aphorisms but grows through a remarkable exploration, via Heidegger and Derrida especially, of loss as our condition of being, of subjectivity and subjection, of our location and dis-location in place and time. Loss, here, is where we are from and where we are; and the experience of loss is constitutive of experience as such. Loss shapes memory, making phantoms of us as subjects and conditioning our very modernity, our modes of presenting and representing in literature, in film, in music, even in love, even in touching or being touched if or when one is 'visited', as by a ghost, as by an appearance that disappears as its own very mode of being. The range of philosophy and literature that haunts Wolfreys is voluminous; and the book makes one insatiable, hungry for more, as insight follows insight in a literally amazing text, a text in which one can lose oneself as a reader. That, precisely, is the point of reading, of culture, of our being together. Wolfreys knows this better than anyone; and Haunted Experience dramatises it for us." Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and of Comparative Literature, University of Warwick
"Reading Haunted Experience, I am at a loss for words. This is an elegant book that is expansive in its philosophical, phenomenological, literary, visual, musical reach. A book should not be able to do so much and yet speak with such an intimate precision. Julian Wolfreys brings his deconstructive reflection on the constitutive character of loss into everyday experience, pedagogical care and theoretical exegesis, effortlessly." Dr Lynn Turner, Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London