Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226662787 Published May 2009
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226662794 Published December 2011
E-book $7.00 to $29.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226662800 Published August 2009

The Philosophy of Improvisation

Gary Peters

Gary Peters

200 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2009
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226662787 Published May 2009
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226662794 Published December 2011
E-book $7.00 to $29.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226662800 Published August 2009

Improvisation is usually either lionized as an ecstatic experience of being in the moment or disparaged as the thoughtless recycling of clichés. Eschewing both of these orthodoxies, The Philosophy of Improvisation ranges across the arts—from music to theater, dance to comedy—and considers the improvised dimension of philosophy itself in order to elaborate an innovative concept of improvisation.

            Gary Peters turns to many of the major thinkers within continental philosophy—including Heidegger, Nietzsche, Adorno, Kant, Benjamin, and Deleuze—offering readings of their reflections on improvisation and exploring improvisational elements within their thinking. Peters’s wry, humorous style offers an antidote to the frequently overheated celebration of freedom and community that characterizes most writing on the subject. Expanding the field of what counts as improvisation, The Philosophy of Improvisation will be welcomed by anyone striving to comprehend the creative process.

Ian Buchanan, Cardiff University

The Philosophy of Improvisation is like Lewis Hyde’s The Gift; it is a book that academics and general readers will find both stimulating and enjoyable. It is a prodigious rethinking of the philosophical problem of improvisation, which brings together an impressive range of thinkers—Adorno, Deleuze, Derrida, Heidegger and Levinas, among others—but does so with a light touch. It is a terrific book.”

John Sallis, Boston College
“Gary Peters draws on many sources to construct a model of improvisation that is true to the experience as attested by artists and yet escapes the criticisms that various theorists have leveled against the idea of improvisation. Laced with bits of humor, satire, and irony, this is a work of considerable imagination.”
Andy Hamilton | The Wire

“This is an unusual book on improvisation: a genuinely philosophical contribution to the literature. . . .It’s impossible to summarise the book’s many ingenious arguments in the space of a short review—this is a rich and intriguing discussion.”

Choice
"This aptly titled work considers not the how-to of improvisation but rather the motivations and meaning behind spontaneous creation. . . . A work for anyone who teaches or wishes to reflect on the creative process."
Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Chapter One: Scrap Yard Challenge--Junkyard Wars

Chapter Two: Freedom, Origination, and Irony

Chapter Three: Mimesis and Cruelty

Chapter Four: Improvisation, Origination, Re-novation

Conclusion: Improvisation, Thinking, Writing

Bibliography

Index

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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