David Ames Curtis has long been identified with the work of philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis (1922-1997), one of the founding members of the French revolutionary group Socialism or Barbarism, which published an influential journal from 1949 to 1965. Curtis has championed Castoriadis’s writings and has been responsible for most of the translations that have published in the U.S. He also maintains an organization and website dedicated to Castoriadis—the Agora International Website—in cooperation with the University of Michigan Library.
Curtis has been in a dispute with Castoriadis’s family over publishing plans for a number of years now (you will find the details in a 2004 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Scott McLemee titled, “The Strange Afterlife of Cornelius Castoriadis”).
The most recent episode of the battle is over the recent publication by Stanford University of a collection of Castoriadis’s writings titled, A Society Adrift. Curtis is extremely critical of the quality of the translation by Helen Adams in a long comment posted on Amazon (WorldCat includes Amazon reviews, so you can reach it from the link above). Adams had translated a previously published book by Castoriadis, Figures of the Thinkable. Interestingly enough, Cutis notes in his comments that Adams was actually a member of Socialism or Barbarism.
The purpose of this post is not to draw attention to a literary conflict, but to let readers know that as an alternative to the Adams translations, Curtis has made freely available his own translations of many of the same writings in two collection, The Rising Tide of Insignificancy (The Big Sleep) and Figures of the Thinkable. You can reach them from the Agora International Website (in the bibliography on the “About Cornelius Castoriadis” page).
There is also an ambitious project underway to make scans of all of the issues of Socialism or Barbarism freely available.
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