For over thirty years, Werner Hamacher has devoted himself to forms and possibilities of thought in and between literature, aesthetics, and philosophy. He has turned his attention to both the Enlightenment and Modernity. In pathbreaking essays on Hegel, Schlegel, and Heidegger, Hölderlin, Kleist, and Celan, in studies devoted to money, the general strike, and the color blue, he has demonstrated — always surprisingly and differently — that understanding, too, needs to be understood. Hamacher’s work oscillates between the grounds and abysses of thinking and acting, of speech and silence. On the one hand, he investigates the foundations of understanding upon which the edifices of human knowledge are based; on the other, he explores the curious depths to which Kafka once referred as the “pit of Babel.”

Babel is a Festschrift in honor of Werner Hamacher, who this year turns sixty, produced by internationally acclaimed artists, writers, and scholars, but above else by friends who wish to celebrate his œuvre with a labyrinthine work in which languages and gestures, words and images intersect.


With contributions by: Giorgio Agamben (Verona), Ian Balfour (York), Timothy Bahti (Paris), Andrew Benjamin (Monash), Susan Bernstein (Brown), Daniel Birnbaum (Frankfurt), Stefan Broser (Berlin), Eduardo Cadava (Princeton), Rüdiger Campe (Yale), Jean Daive (Paris), Paul Davies (Sussex), Hent de Vries (Johns Hopkins), Michael Donhauser (Maienfeld), Milad Douehi (Glasgow), Oswald Egger (Hombroich), Deborah Esch (Toronto), Peter Fenves (Northwestern), Paul Fleming (New York), Michael Fried (Johns Hopkins), Eleonore Frey (Zürich), Hans-Jost Frey (Zürich), Marc Froment-Meurice (Vanderbilt), Rodolphe Gasché (Buffalo), Andreas Gelhard (Bonn), Eva Geulen (Bonn), Anna Glazova (Northwestern), Wanda Golonka (Frankfurt), Wolfram Groddeck (Zürich), Fritz Gutbrodt (Rüschlikon), Norbert Haas (Berlin), Sophie Hamacher (Berlin), Christiaan Hart-Nibbrig (Lausanne), Daniel Heller-Roazen (Princeton), J. Hillis Miller (Irvine), Neil Hertz (Johns Hopkins), Dana Hollander (McMaster), Carol Jacobs (Yale), Birgit Kempker (Basel), Burkhardt Lindner (Frankfurt), Stefan Lorenzer (Frankfurt), Arne Melberg (Oslo), Jean-Luc Nancy (Strasbourg), Anders Olsson (Stockholm), Håkan Rehnberg (Stockholm), Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Berlin), Elizabeth Rottenberg (DePaul), Avital Ronell (New York), Neil Sacamano (Cornell), Thomas Schestag (Johns Hopkins), Marianne Schuller (Hamburg), Annette Schwartz (Cornell), Henry Sussman (Buffalo), Rachel Tobias (Johns Hopkins), Sophie Tottie (Berlin), Cornelia Vismann (Frankfurt), Arnd Wedemeyer (Princeton), Hinrich Weidemann (Berlin), and Hanns Zischler (Berlin).


Werner Hamacher, born in 1948, is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. He has taught at many places, including Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, New York University and Yale University, and also at Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris. Along a series of much discussed essays and translations (of Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Jean Daive, Jacques Derrida, Jorie Graham, Jacques Lacan, and Paul de Man), he has published pleroma (Ullstein, 1978), Entferntes Verstehen (Suhrkamp, 1998), and Maser (Max Hetzler, 2003), among other studies. Most recently Philosophische Salons, edited by Elisabeth Schweeger (Schauspiel Frankfurt, 2007), and Heterautonomien (Diaphanes, 2008) have appeared. Werner Hamacher is also the general editor of “Meridian – Crossing Aesthetics” at Stanford University Press.


Aris Fioretos, born in 1960, studied in Stockholm and Paris, as well as at Yale University. He has published works both literary and scholarly, and received many prizes and awards. His most recent book in German is the novel Die Wahrheit über Sascha Knisch (2003). This fall, his essay collection Das Maß eines Fußes will appear with Carl Hanser Verlag. Aris Fioretos lives and works in Stockholm and Berlin.

Festschrift für Werner Hamacher (Babel)

Editor · In German · Weil am Rhein: Urs Engeler, 2008 · 320 pages · Cover: Hinrich Weidemann

ISBN: 978-3-938767-55-9