MICHEL SERRES: imaginal pluralism vs informational monism

Michel Serres’ HERMES pentalogy exhibits the progressive elaboration both of a pluralist research programme and of an information paradigm. Slowly the writing changes from a more conceptual and academic style to a more imagistic and literary style. The tension, or agon, between pluralism and monism is reflected in the convergences and divergences of image and concept.

The sequence of books coming after the HERMES pentalogy were both more imagistic and more pluralist. THE PARASITE, GENESIS, DETACHMENT, ROME, THE FIVE SENSES could be regarded as a second pentalogy articulating an imaginal pluralism beyond Serres’ own explicit conceptual intentions.

Michel Serres tells us that his aim is to speak in many voices and in many tongues. His use of the image is a more effective means of pluralist expression than purely academic prose would permit. When Serres speaks in images he says more and goes farther than when he confines himself to pure concepts. Serres seems to have noticed this, as he differentiates his style from Deleuze’s and its use of conceptual characters, declaring that he drops the qualification of “conceptual” and writes in terms of characters. The concept is one level or modality of this imagistic approach.

Note: for a review of Michel Serres’ ROME: THE FIRST BOOK OF FOUNDATIONS from this perspective see here.

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