Christopher Fynsk

Maurice Blanchot Chair, Professor of Philosophy, and Dean of the Division of Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought at The European Graduate School / EGS.

Christopher Fynsk

Biography

Christopher Fynsk’s (b. 1952) academic profile includes extensive administrative experience (he has served as chair, head of school, dean and trustee) and high academic achievement through articles, translations, and books treating topics in modern Continental philosophy and literature. He has held academic positions in North America, France, and the UK (Scotland), and has fifteen years of experience at The European Graduate School / EGS. He is best known for his writings on Martin Heidegger and Maurice Blanchot, but has also made significant contributions in the area of philosophy of language and to questions relating to the politics of philosophy (and its institutions). He is also actively involved in the philosophy of education and currently writes on the topic of rhythm.

Christopher Fynsk received his doctorate from the Department of Romance Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1981, following a Diplôme d’Etudes Avancées in Philosophy from the University of Strasbourg. He also received an MA in English from the University of California, Irvine, in 1976, and an MA in French at Johns Hopkins University in 1979. He taught at the University of Strasbourg from 1985 to 1987, and from 1981 to 2004 he worked as professor of Comparative Literature and Philosophy, co-director of the Philosophy, Literature and the Theory of Criticism Program and as chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at State University of New York at Binghamton. From 1995–1997, Chris Fynsk was the chair of the Modern Language Association, Division of Philosophical Approaches to Literature. In 2004, he moved to the University of Aberdeen to join the faculty of the School of Language and Literature, and formed the Centre for Modern Thought.

In his critical writings, which breach the barriers separating philosophy, literary theory, and art criticism, Christopher Fynsk is deeply engaged with the question of the possibility of language and how the human relation to Being is sketched out through literary and philosophical texts and art works. In Infant Figures, he follows a path to the realm of this question through a dialogical meditation on two texts, one by Maurice Blanchot and one by Jacques Lacan, which confront the limits of language in saying the death of a child. In the text, which is partitioned into three suggestively aligned parts in the manner similar to a Francis Bacon triptych, Christopher Fynsk follows an inquiry of the material limits of symbolic representation. The inquiry is called by ‘the exigency of the figure’, a primal exposure of the human being antecedent to speech and memory which opens it to the possibility of language. In order to risk the entry into this problematic, he finds it necessary to adopt an unconventional method which navigates ‘between discursive orders’ in a way which is theoretically akin to the methods of psychoanalysis.

Christopher Fynsk is the author of a forthcoming book on Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s Phrase (SUNY Press). He is also the author of Last Steps: Maurice Blanchot’s Exilic WritingThe Claim of Language: A Case for the Humanities (2004), Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin (2000), Language and Relation: …that there is language (1996), and Heidegger: Thought and Historicity (1986). He has contributed the following chapters to books: “El uso de la tierra” in: Antonio Casado de Rocha (Translator) and Félix Duque (Editor), Heidegger y el arte de verdad (Catedra Jorge Oteiza, 2005); “The Place of the Friend in Hölderlin’s Later Hymns” in: Friedrich Hölderlins (Translator), Christophe Jamme and Anja Lemke (Editors), Es bleibet aber eine Spur/ Doch eines Wortes”: Zur späten Hymnik und Tragödientheorie (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2004); “Derrida’s Engagements: Philosophy in the Performative” in: Tom Cohen (Editor), Derrida and the Humanities (Cambridge University Press, 2001); “William Haver. ‘Iconographies of Silence'” in: Salvatore Puglia (ed), Via dalle immagini/Leaving Pictures (Edizioni Menabo, Salerno, 1999); “What Remains at a Crucifixion” in: Sue Golding (ed), The Eight Technologies of Otherness (Routledge, 1997); “Foreword” in: George Quasha (ed), The Station Hill Blanchot Reader (Station Hill Press, 1999); “Reading the Poetics after the Remarks” in: Aris Fioretos (Editor), The Firm Letter (Stanford University Press, 1998); “Crossing the Threshold” in: Carolyn Bailey Gill (ed), Maurice Blanchot: The Demand of Writing (Routledge, 1996); “Experiences of Finitude (Preface)” in: Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community (University Of Minnesota Press, June 1991); “Community and the Limits of Theory” in: Community at Loose Ends (University of Minnesota Press, 1991); “Poetic Relation: Celan’s ‘Bremen Address'” in: Haskell M. Block (Editor), The Poetry of Paul Celan (Peter Lang, 1991); “Poetic Relation: Celan’s ‘Bremen Address'” in: Aris Fioretos (Editor), Word Traces (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); “The Choice of Deconstruction” in: The Textual Sublime: Deconstruction and its Differences (SUNY Press, 1989); “Finitude de la Dichtung” in: Jean-François Courtine (ed), Les Cahiers de l’Herne (Editions de l’Herne, 1989); and “Activitè philosophique et pratique politique; Ouverture du sèminaire sur le politique.” in: Les fins de l’homme; A partir du travail de Jacques Derrida (Editions Galilèe). In 1996, he edited Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s Typography.

Works

Books

Last Steps: Maurice Blanchot’s Exilic Writing, Fynsk, Christopher. Last Steps: Maurice Blanchot’s Exilic Writing. Fordham University Press, 2013. ISBN: 0823251039

The Claim Of Language: A Case For The Humanities, Fynsk, Christopher. The Claim Of Language: A Case For The Humanities. University of Minnesota Press, 2004. ISBN: 0816644810

Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin, Fynsk, Christopher. Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin. Stanford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0804734070

Language and Relation: That There is language, Fynsk, Christopher. Language and Relation: that there is language. Stanford University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0804727139

Typography; Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics, Fynsk, Christopher. Typography; Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics. Edited by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Harvard University Press, 1989. ISBN: 0674917006

Heidegger: Thought and Historicity, Fynsk, Christopher. Heidegger: Thought and Historicity. Cornell University Press, 1986. ISBN: 0801481589

Chapters

El uso de la tierra

Fynsk, Christopher. “El uso de la tierra.” Translated by Antonio Casado de Rocha. In Heidegger y el arte de verdad, edited by Félix Duque, 223-253. Catedra Jorge Oteiza, 2005.

The Place of the Friend in Hölderlin’s Later Hymns

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Place of the Friend in Hölderlin’s Later Hymns.” In Es bleibet aber eine Spur/ Doch eines Wortes”: Zur späten Hymnik und Tragödientheorie, edited by Christophe Jamme and Anja Lemke, 247-254. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2004.

Derrida’s Engagements: Philosophy in the Performative

Fynsk, Christopher. “Derrida’s Engagements: Philosophy in the Performative.” In Derrida and the Humanities, edited by Tom Cohen. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0521625653

William Haver. ‘Iconographies of Silence’

Fynsk, Christopher, “William Haver. ‘Iconographies of Silence’.” In Via dalle immagini/Leaving Pictures, edited by Salvatore Puglia, 101-111. Edizioni Menabo. Salerno, 1999.

What Remains at a Crucifixion

Fynsk, Christopher. “What Remains at a Crucifixion.” In The Eight Technologies of Otherness, edited by Sue Golding. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415145805

Foreward

Fynsk, Christopher. Foreward to The Station Hill Blanchot Reader, edited by George Quasha. Station Hill Press, 1999. ISBN: 1886449171

Reading the Poetics after the Remarks

Fynsk, Christopher. “Reading the Poetics after the Remarks.” In The Firm Letter, edited by Aris Fioretos. Stanford University Press, 1998.

Crossing the Threshold

Fynsk, Christopher. “Crossing the Threshold.” In Maurice Blanchot: The Demand of Writing, edited by Carolyn Bailey Gill, 71-90. Routledge, 1996.

Experiences of Finitude

Fynsk, Christopher. “Experiences of Finitude.” Preface to The Inoperative Community, by Jean-Luc Nancy, vii-xxxv. University Of Minnesota Press, 1991. ISBN: 0816619247

Community and the Limits of Theory

Fynsk, Christopher. “Community and the Limits of Theory.” In Community at Loose Ends. University of Minnesota Press, 1991. ISBN: 0816619212

Poetic Relation: Celan’s ‘Bremen Address’

Fynsk, Christopher. “Poetic Relation: Celan’s ‘Bremen Address’.” In The Poetry of Paul Celan, edited by Haskell M. Block, 22-30. Peter Lang, 1991. ISBN: 0820416150

The Choice of Deconstruction

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Choice of Deconstruction.” In The Textual Sublime: Deconstruction and its Differences. SUNY Press, 1989. ISBN: 0791400751

Finitude de la Dichtung

Fynsk, Christopher. “Finitude de la Dichtung.” In Les Cahiers de l’Herne, edited by Jean-François Courtin, 444-456. Editions de l’Herne. Paris, 1989.

Activitè philosophique et pratique politique; Ouverture du sèminaire sur le politique

Fynsk, Christopher. “Activitè philosophique et pratique politique; Ouverture du sèminaire sur le politique.” In Les fins de l’homme; A partir du travail de Jacques Derrida, 487-493. Editions Galilèe, 1982.

Translations

Preliminary Remarks

Fynsk, Christopher, trans. “Preliminary Remarks,” by Gèrard Granel. In Ellipsis Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring (1991): 100-108.

Prescription

Fynsk, Christopher, trans. “Prescription,” by Jean-François Lyotard. In L’Esprit Crèateur Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring (1991): 15-32.

Desistance

Fynsk, Christopher. trans. “Desistance,” by Jacques Derrida. In Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy, Politics. Stanford University Press, 1989: 1-42.

Talks
Fynsk, Christopher, trans. “Talks,” by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. In Diacritics Vol. 14, No. 3, Fall (1984): 24-37.

Articles

Thinking (in) Europe: An Indirect Question for Rodolphe Gasche?

Fynsk, Christopher. “Thinking (in) Europe: An Indirect Question for Rodolphe Gasche?” CR: The New Centennial Review Vol. 8, No. 3 (2009).

Blanchot in The International Review

Fynsk, Christopher. “Blanchot in The International Review.” Paragraph Vol. 30, No. 3, November (2007).

A Nomos without Truth

Fynsk, Christopher. “A Nomos without Truth.” South Atlantic Quarterly Vol. 104, No. 2, Spring (2005): 313-317.

Dialogue with Simon Morgan-Wortham on The Claim of Language

Fynsk, Christopher. “Dialogue with Simon Morgan-Wortham on The Claim of Language.” Culture Machine January (2005).

Lascaux and the Question of Origins

Fynsk, Christopher. “Lascaux and the Question of Origins.” Poiesis 5 (2003): 6-19.

L’Irréconciliable

Fynsk, Christopher. “L’Irréconciliable.” The New Centennial Review Vol. 2, No. 3, Fall (2002): 23-36.

Reflections on 9/11—The View from Bedford-Stuyvesant

Fynsk, Christopher. “Reflections on 9/11—The View from Bedford-Stuyvesant.” Vacarme (2001).

Jean-François’s Infancy

Fynsk, Christopher. “Jean-François’s Infancy.” Yale French Studies 99 (2001): 44-61.

There are no encounters in theory

Fynsk, Christopher. “There are no encounters in theory.” Traces 1 (2000): 211-213.

The Linguistic Turn

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Linguistic Turn.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2000.

Dwelling in the Ruins of the University (the point being to practice something beyond critique)

Fynsk, Christopher. “Dwelling in the Ruins of the University (the point being to practice something beyond critique).” Crossings 3 (1999): 57-77.

Between Ethics and Aesthetics

Fynsk, Christopher. “Between Ethics and Aesthetics.” Esprit Créateur Vol. 25, No. 3, Fall (1995): 80-87.

Reading the Poetics after the Remarks

Fynsk, Christopher. “Reading the Poetics after the Remarks.” Research in Phenomenology 24 (1994): 57-69.

A Note on Language and the Body

Fynsk, Christopher. “A Note on Language and the Body.” Paragraph Vol. 16, No. 2 (1994): 192-201.

The Claim of History

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Claim of History.” Diacritics June (1993): 115-126.

But Suppose We Were To Take ‘The Rectoral Address’ Seriously…– On Gèrard Granel’s De l’universitè

Fynsk, Christopher. “But Suppose We Were To Take ‘The Rectoral Address’ Seriously…– On Gèrard Granel’s De l’universitè.” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal Vol. 14, No. 2 (1991): 335-362.

Literary Reading

Fynsk, Christopher. “Literary Reading.” Interpretation, Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 18, Autumn-Winter (1988): 43-57.

Noise at the Threshold

Fynsk, Christopher. “Noise at the Threshold.” Research in Phenomenology 19 (1989): 101-120.

Apartheid. het woord en het ding

Fynsk, Christopher. “Apartheid. het woord en het ding.” Translated by Kris Humbeeck. Restant Vol. 15, No. 4 (1989): 121-134.

Freiheit der Interpretation im liberalen Amerika

Fynsk, Christopher. “Freiheit der Interpretation im liberalen Amerika.” Translated by Thomas Kleinbub. Tumult (1987): 125-132.

The Self and its Witness; On Heidegger’s Being and Time

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Self and its Witness; On Heidegger’s Being and Time.” Boundary 2 Vol. 10, No. 3, Spring (1982): 185-207.

The Choice of Deconstruction

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Choice of Deconstruction.” Rivista di Estetica Vol. 25, No. 17 (1984): 53-61.

Legacies of May: On the Work of Le Doctrinal de Sapience

Fynsk, Christopher. “Legacies of May: On the Work of Le Doctrinal de Sapience.” MLN Vol. 93, No. 5, December (1978): 963-971.

A Decelebration of Philosophy

Fynsk, Christopher. “A Decelebration of Philosophy.” Diacritics Vol. 8, No. 2, Summer (1978): 80-90.

The Production of a Difference

Fynsk, Christopher. “The Production of a Difference.” Enclitic Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall (1977): 23-38.

Lectures

Christopher Fynsk

Christopher Fynsk – Antigone – Part 4 of 4

18.05.2020
Christopher Fynsk

Christopher Fynsk – Antigone – Part 3 of 4

18.05.2020
Christopher Fynsk

Christopher Fynsk – Antigone – Part 2 of 4

18.05.2020
Christopher Fynsk

Christopher Fynsk – Antigone – Part 1 of 4

18.05.2020
Christopher Fynsk

“A Pedagogy on the Verge of Disaster”

17.12.2019
Christopher Fynsk

Part VI of Science Colloquium on Time

22.06.2019
Christopher Fynsk

Part V of Science Colloquium on Time

22.06.2019
Christopher Fynsk

“Surviving Friendship: Antelme, Mascolo, Blanchot”

03.02.2019
Christopher Fynsk

Autonomy and Academic Freedom

22.10.2017
Christopher Fynsk

The Library at Home

03.03.2016
Christopher Fynsk

On the idea of Curriculum

21.12.2015
Christopher Fynsk

On Maurice Blanchot’s “Dans la nuit surveillée”

16.03.2015
Christopher Fynsk

The Transformative Lecture

06.01.2014
Christopher Fynsk

Jean Francois’ Infancy

17.10.2013
Christopher Fynsk

Maurice Blanchot, the Double Relation, and Freedom

11.09.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Concealment and Unconcealment

23.03.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Mimesis and Anxiety. Heidegger

21.03.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Blanchot’s The Step Not Beyond

10.03.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Blanchot’s Infinite Conversation

09.03.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Interruption, Fatigue, Weariness and The Other in Blanchot

08.03.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Beings and the Artist’s Trace. The Origin of the Work of Art Heidegger

24.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Setting into work of Truth. The Origin of the Work of Art Heidegger

21.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

The Relation Between Bataille and Blanchot, Speech and The Alterity

20.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Public, Alterity, Equipment. The Origin of the Work of Art Heidegger

18.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Blanchot, Language, Negation, Dialectics and Signification

16.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Maurice Blanchot and Refusal

14.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Blanchot’s Madness of the Day, Death, Sovereignty and Refusal of the Order

10.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

Epilogue for “The Origin of the Work of Art” Heidegger

02.02.2012
Christopher Fynsk

The Question of Language and Literature in Blanchot

25.01.2012
Christopher Fynsk

A Brief Introduction to Maurice Blanchot

24.01.2012
Christopher Fynsk, Avital Ronell

Task, Technology, and Philosophy

14.06.2010
Christopher Fynsk, Avital Ronell

Heidegger and the Question of Technology

14.06.2010
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 6/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 5/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 4/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 3/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 2/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Ferran Adrià, elBulli & lImage en Cuisine 1/6

12.10.2009
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 10/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 9/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 8/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 7/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 6/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 5/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 4/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 3/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 2/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Thinking in Europe 1/10

12.10.2008
Christopher Fynsk

Emmanuel Levinas and the Death of the Infant

18.02.2003