Agamben: Continuing The Work

In a certain sense, all my books are co-authored. I am the sole author of none of them, I might not even be their author at all. They give me pleasure only in the measure that I do not feel myself their author—or, at least, their sole author. Virtually all of my books are born of the desire—no, the need—to continue the work of authors I love... In this sense, I have written books with Benjamin, with Foucualt, with Primo Levi, with Heidegger. The canonical form of this capacity for development is found in the commentaries of late antiquity and the medieval period where, on the manuscript page, we find interlinear glosses and lateral columns that encircle the passage commented upon. And in this sense, philological method and philosophical method coincide in a sort of nekyia, a descent into the underworld to evoke the spirit of an author and induce it to think, and to poetize, in us and through us. If the operation is successful, the work that results is, so to speak, anonymous and unattributable—something that gives me a particular pleasure.

Friendship and Philosophy: An Interview With Giorgio Agamben by Leland De La Durantaye, Cabinet Magazine Issue 45