Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jeff Love's "The Black Circle"

Jeff Love is Research Professor of German and Russian at Clemson University. He is the author of The Overcoming of History in “War and Peace” (2004), editor of Heidegger in Russia and Eastern Europe (2017), and translator of Kojève’s Atheism, among other works.

Here Love shares some ideas about adapting his new book, The Black Circle: A Life of Alexandre Kojeve, for the screen:
Despite the title, my book is more about Kojève's thought than his life. Yet, I must admit that Kojève had quite an interesting life with some cinematic qualities. Born in Moscow in 1902, he fled Russia in 1920 (after being arrested by the secret police and other adventures) to Germany where he studied philosophy, oriental religions, Chinese and Tibetan and experienced the volatile life of Berlin. He moved to Paris in 1926 living off an inheritance enhanced by astute investments (he made a considerable sum from La vache qui rit). After he exhausted his inheritance in 1931, he tried to obtain an academic position and finally was given his famed seminar on Hegel at the École de Hautes Études in Paris that lasted six years (1933-1939) and had a vast influence on French culture in the post-war period. Among his students were Raymond Aron, Georges Bataille, Henry Corbin, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Raymond Queneau. During the war he fled Paris and may have worked for various intelligence agencies as a supporter of the French resistance. After the war he became a major, if largely hidden, figure in the French government wielding considerable influence, all the while maintaining that he was an orthodox Stalinist (who at the same time admired supporters of Hitler, like Carl Schmitt). He played an important role in GATT and in the founding of the European Union. He died on June 4, 1968 while giving a speech in Brussels.

Leonardo DiCaprio could play Kojève, and Martin Scorsese could be the director.
Learn more about The Black Circle at the Columbia University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue