Homomonadology: Leo Bersanis Essentialism Academic Article uri icon


  • Homomonadology outlines the emergence and elaboration of Leo Bersanis onto-ethics/aesthetics over the past half a century, focusing particularly on his interest in the shared references to Leibnizian metaphysics in twentieth-century philosophical and literary texts. The essay begins by detailing Bersanis early engagement, in Balzac to Beckett: Center and Circumference in French Fiction (1970), with Marcel Proust and Samuel Beckett, as well as Gilles Deleuzes and Maurice Blanchots commentaries on the two writers. Having borrowed Deleuzes description of Proust as a Leibnizian, Bersani moves from the Proustian to the Beckettian text, organizing his reading in such later texts as Arts of Impoverishment (1993, cowritten with Ulysse Dutoit) around Becketts allusions to monadology. Homomonadology argues that the concept of the Leibnizian monad allows Bersani to articulate an onto-ethics of singularity and correspondences, of nonrelatedness and unity, in a way that comes to inform his post-1980s work on queer theory and queer ethics. It is Bersanis commitment to ontology that renders his work, despite its influence on a number of fields, something of an anomaly in the contemporary critical field. With his varied sourcesDeleuze, Proust, and Beckett among the most importantBersani becomes, as he puts it in an interview, an essentialist villain in scholarly fields often driven by constructivist, antiessentialist imperatives.

published proceedings

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author list (cited authors)

  • Tuhkanen, M.

complete list of authors

  • Tuhkanen, Mikko