Power of Gentleness: Meditations on the Risk of Living

Key moments of our lives, especially at the beginning and end, are marked by gentleness—but the simplicity of that concept is misleading. Gentleness is an active passivity that may become an extraordinary force of resistance within ethics and politics. In this powerful rethinking by a renowned philosopher and psychoanalyst, whose untimely death captured worldwide attention, gentleness becomes a series of embodied paradoxes: power that is also soft, nobility that is also humble, sweetness that is also intelligent, subtlety that is nevertheless striking, fragility that has the potential to subvert the status quo.

Join Avital Ronell, to celebrate the release of Anne Dufourmantelle’s Power of Gentleness in English.

Anne Dufourmantelle was a leading French philosopher and a psychoanalyst. She wrote several essays on the importance of risk-taking and she passed away following her bold philosophy. Dufourmantelle spoke of fear being wielded as a political weapon and encouraged us to truly live warning us that “the price of protection soon becomes very expensive”. She had been a prominent voice of a new generation of French intellectuals and was the author of Éloge du Risque (“In Praise of Risk”) published in 2011, and of Power of Gentleness just published by Fordham University Press.

Avital Ronell is a University Professor of the Humanities at NYU and Jacques Derrida Chair of Media and Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She is with Peter Connor a founding editor of Qui Parle (Berkeley). Author of several books and performance pieces, including 9 performances at the Centre Pompidou in 2009 (with Anne, Herzog, Judith Butler, Dennis Cooper, Jean-Christophe Bailly and many others), she is committed to the ongoing take-downs of deconstructive reading and protest practices. She has been awarded the Chevalier of the Order of Arts and letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Dufourmantelle and Ronell collaborated on a number of works including American Philo and Fighting Theory.