The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has always been an original reader of texts,understanding their many rich and multiple historical, aesthetic, and political meanings andeffects. In Profanations, Agamben has assembled for the first time some of his most pivotal essayson photography, the novel, and film. A meditation on memory and oblivion, on what is lost and whatremains, Profanations proves yet again that Agamben is one of the most provocative writers of ourtime. In ten essays, Agamben ponders a series of literary and philosophical problems: the relationamong genius, ego, and theories of subjectivity; the problem of messianic time as explicated in bothimages and lived experience; parody as a literary paradigm; and the potential of magic to provide anethical canon. The range of topics and themes addressed here attest to the creativity of Agamben'ssingular mode of thought and his persistent concern with the act of witnessing, sometimes futile,sometimes earth-shattering: the talking cricket in Pinocchio; "helpers" in Kafka's novels;pictorial representations of the Last Judgment, of anonymous female faces, and of"Rosebud," the infamous object of obsession in Citizen Kane. "In Praise ofProfanity," the central essay of this small but dense book, confronts the question of profanityas the crucial political task of the moment. An act of resistance to every form of separation, theconcept of profanation reorients perceptions of how power, consumption, and use interweave toproduce an urgent political modality and desire: to profane the unprofanable. Agamben not onlyprovides a new and potent theoretical model but describes it with a writerly style that itselfforges inescapable links among literature, politics, and philosophy.Giorgio Agamben is Professor ofAesthetics at the University of Venice. His many publications include Homo Sacer: Sovereign Powerand Bare Life, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive (Zone Books), The ComingCommunity, and State of Exception.