• Jacques Rancière, Preface to The Proletarian Nights, London: Verso, 2013.
Why has the philosophy of intelligentsia or activists always needed to blame some evil third party (petty bourgeoisie, ideologist or master thinker) for the shadows and obscurities that get in the way of the harmonious relationship between their own self-consciousness and the self-identity of their ‘popular’ object of study? Was not this evil third party contrived to spirit away another more fearsome threat: that of seeing the thinkers of the night invade the territory of Philosophy.
• Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, New York, 1971.
I executed the cast shadow of the bicycle wheel, the cast shadow of the hat rack . . . and the cast shadow of the corkscrew. I had found a sort of projector which made shadows rather well enough, and I projected each shadow, which I traced by hand, onto the canvas. Also, right in the middle, I put a hand painted by a sign painter, and I had the good fellow sign it. [p. 60]
• Bushy to the Queen in Shakespeare’s Richard II
Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
Which shows like grief itself, but is not so;
For sorrow’s eye, glazed with blinding tears,
Divides one thing entire to many objects;
Like perspectives, which rightly gazed upon
Show nothing but confusion, eyes awry
Distinguish form: so your sweet majesty,
Looking awry upon your lord’s departure,
Find shapes of grief, more than himself, to wail;
Which, look’d on as it is, is nought but shadows
Of what is not. [II, ii, 14-24]
• Slavoj Žižek, How to read Lacan, London: Granta Books, 2006.
[Shakespeare's Richard II] starts to perceive his kingship as an effect of anamorphosis, a ‘shadow of nothing’; however, getting rid of this insubstantial spectre does not leave us with the simple reality of what we effectively art – it is as if one cannot simply counterpose the anamorphosis of charisma and substantial reality, as if all reality is an effect of anamorphosis, a ‘shadow of nothing’… [p. 70]
• Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows, Stony Creek: Leete’s Island Books, 1977.
I have written all this because I have thought that there might still be somewhere, possibly in literature or the arts, where something could be saved. I would call back at least for literature this world of shadows we are losing. In the mansion called literature I would have the eaves deep and the walls dark, I would push back into the shadows the things that come forward too clearly, I would strip away the useless decoration. I do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the electric lights and see what it is like without them. [p. 42]
• Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time Image, trans. Hugh Tomlinson & Robert Galeta, London: Althone Press, 1989. [p. 124]
Resnais has often declared that it is not characters that interest him but the feelings that they could extract from them like their shadows, depending on which regions of the past they are placed in. Characters are of the present, but feelings plunge into the past. Feelings become characters, as in the painted shadows in the sunless park (Last Year in Marienbad).
• Walter Benjamin, One Way Street, quoted by Susan Buck-Morss in The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project. London: MIT, 1991. [p. 19]
Our feelings, dazzled, flutter like a flock of birds in the woman’s radiance. And as birds seek protection in the leafy recesses of a tree, so our feelings take flight into the shaded wrinkles, the awkward gestures and invisible blemishes of the body we love, where they can lie low in safety.
• Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic, London: Macmillan Publishing, 1977.
I didn’t like the look of that cover. Its shadow wasn’t right. The sun was at our backs, yet its shadow was stretching towards us. Well, all right, it was far enough away from us. It seemed OK, we could get on with our work. But what was the silvery thing shining back there? Was it just my imagination? It would be nice to have a smoke now and sit for a spell and mull it all over–why there was that shine over the canisters, why it didn’t shine next to them, why the cover was casting that shadow. Buzzard Burbridge told me something about the shadows, that they were weird but harmless. Something happens here with the shadows. [p. 25]
• Julia Kissiner, When Shadows Cast People, Peperoni Books, 2010.
• Peter Sloterdijk & Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs, Neither Sun Nor Death, 1, Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2011.
Words, for him, are creatures of the shadows, symbols of lack–to write means to adopt the appearance of an unknown face. [p. 98. on Edmond Jabès' The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion]
• Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1, London: Athlone, 1992.
The parts of the set are now intensive parts, and the set itself is a mixture which is transmitted through all the parts, through all the degrees of shadow and of light, through the whole light-darkness scale. [p. 14]
• Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, London: Continuum, 2004.
Bacon has often said that, in the domain of Figures, the shadow has as much presence as the body; but the shadow acquires this presence only because it escapes from the body; the shadow is the body that has escaped from itself through some localized point in the contour. [p. 16]
The shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering. [p. 21]
• Hadley Freeman, ‘Go on, Werner, give us a smile’, Guardian, Saturday 5th March 2011
Herzog and his third wife, Lena, live in L.A. Herzog concedes this is a surpriseing choice of residency for him, not least because he hates sunshine: “I am always trying to find the next shadow.” [p. 27 - 29]
• The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurection, Paris: Semiotext(e), 2009
Everywhere, a new idea of communism is to be elaborated. In the shadows of bar rooms, in print shops, squats, farms, occupied gymnasiums, new complicities are to be born. [p. 15]
Freedom is no longer a name scrawled on walls, for today it is always followed, as if by its shadow, with the word “security.” [p. 85]
• Antonin Artaud, ‘Theatre and the Plague’, The Theatre and its Double, trans, Victor Corti, London: Calder Publications, 1993.
[of the plague victim] His stomach heaves, his insides seem to want to burst out between his teeth. His pulse sometimes slows down until it becomes a shadow, a latent pulse, at other times it races in accordance with his seething inner fever, the streaming wanderings of his mind.’ [p. 10]
• Richard Brautigan, ‘Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey, Won’t You Come Home?, The Hawkline Monster, London: Jonathan Cape, 1975.
Meanwhile, down in the laboratory above the ice caves everything was very quiet except for the movement of a shadow. It was a shadow that just barely existed between forms. At times the shadow would almost become a form. The shadow would hover at the very edge of something definite and perhaps even recognizable but then the shadow would drift away into abstraction. [p. 125.]
The shadow was a buffoon mutation totally subservient to the light… [p. 129.]
The light possessed unlimited possibilities and took a special pride in using them. Its shadow was disgusted with the whole business and trailed, dragging its feet reluctantly behind.
Whenever the Hawkline Monster left the laboratory, drifting up the stairs and then slipping like melted butter under the iron door that separated the laboratory from the house, the shadow always felt as if it were going to throw up. [p. 130]
• W G Sebald in ‘Le Promeneur Solitaire: A Remembrance of Robert Walser’, introduction, The Tanners, trans. Susan Bernofsky, New York: New Directions, 2009.
‘How is one to understand an author who was so beset by shadows…’ [p. 4.]
Walser must at the time have hoped, through writing, to be able to escape the shadows which lay over his life from the beginning, and whose lengthening he anticipates at an early age, transforming them on the page from something very dense to something almost weightless. [p. 12.]
• JG Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition, London: Flamingo, 1993.
At times, when Xero approached the forlorn group sitting on the embankment, his shadows formed bizarre patterns on the concrete, transcripts of cryptic formulae and insoluble dreams. These ideograms, like the hieroglyphs of a race of blind seers, remained on the grey concrete after Xero had gone, the detritus of this terrifying psychic totem. [p. 31]
• W. B. Yeats, The Dreaming of the Bones
Why does my heart beat so?
Did not a shadow pass?
It passed but a moment ago.
Who could have trod in the grass?
What rogue is night-wandering?
Have not old writers said
That dizzy dreams can spring
From the dry bones of the dead?
• Thomas Bernard, ‘Breath: A Decision’, in Gathering Evidence, trans. David McLintock, London: Vintage, 2003.
I had been given a large quantity of drugs in addition to the penicillin and camphor, and these had brought an improvement in my condition, at least as far as my powers of perception were concerned. The shadows of people and walls and objects slowly transformed themselves into real people, real walls, and real objects. [p. 222]
• Michel Foucault, Raymond Roussel
…this gentle shadow that makes things visible from beneath their surface and their mask and allows one to speak about them, isn’t this from their birth, the proximity of death, of death that unlines the world like the peeling of fruit? [p. 156]
• Georges Perec, A Man Asleep, trans. Andrew Leak, London: Harvil, 1999.
You follow across the ceiling the sinuous lines of a thin crack, the futile meandering of a fly, the progess – which it is almost possible to plot – of the shadows. [p. 141-142]
• Giorgio Agamben, ‘Potentiality for Darkness’, Potentialities:
Collected Essays in Philosophy, Stanford University Press, California
“… if potentiality were, for example, only the potentiality for
vision and if it existed only as such in the actuality of light, we
would never experience darkness (nor hear silence, in the case of the
potentiality to hear). But human beings can, instead, see shadows (to
skotos)…” [p. 181]
• Gilles Deleuze, ‘Spinoza and the Three Ethics’, Essays Critical
“In Spinoza, on the contrary, everything is light, and the Dark is
only a shadow, a simple effect of light…” [p. 141]
• Riza Negarestani, ‘Remarks on Depth and Darkness’ http://www.cold-
• Mario Perniola, Art and its Shadow, Continuum 2004.
• Jacques Ranciere, ‘The body of the Letter: Bible, Epic, Novel’, in
Flesh of Words, Stanford University Press, 2004.
“…the episode of Peter’s denial enters this figural economy that
perceives in the prophecies and stories of the Old Testament
“figures” of the story of salvation, prefigurations or “shadows” of
things to come, shadows become truths by the becoming-flesh of the
divine Word.” [p. 75]
“This alone testifies to the truth of the “shadows” or figures of the
Old Testament.” [p. 84]
• Gilles Deleuze, ‘What is an Event?’, The Fold, Althone, London 2001.
Following the physical approximation, chaos would amount to
depthless shadows…, [p. 77]
• Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, New York: Zone Books, 1991.
… In neither example is it a case of saying that problems are like
the shadow of pre-existing solutions… [p.16]
• Victor Ieronim Stoichita, . A short history of the shadow, London: Reaktion, 1997.
• Wallace Stevens, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
• Antonio Negri, The Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza’s
Metaphysics and Politics, University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Nothing: phantasm, superstition, shadow. [p. 220]
• Jean-François Lyotard in ‘Newman: The instant”, The Inhuman, Polity, 1991.
…shadows [...] may be ‘terrible’ in that they announce that the
gaze, the other, language or life will soon be extinguished. [p. 84]
• Georges Bataille, ‘The Notion of Expenditure’, Visions of Excess:
Selected Writings 1927 – 1939,
[poetry] condems [the poet] to the most disappointing forms of
activity, to misery, to despair, to the pursuit of inconsistent
shadows that provide nothing but vertigo or rage. [p. 120]
• Michel Serres, ‘The Troubadour of Knowledge’, University of
Michigan Press, 2003
Each person maintains an amorous rapport with the two corresponding
dancers who border the space that each understands as part of his
destiny, but since the two others, as well, have a relation to the
two shadows that frame their space, in front of them, no one sees
anyone or speaks to anyone and no one answers them: this chain of
supplications produces the multiplication of the need to supplicate.
Epistemology and pedagogy meet, just as they did before, in the
centre, in exclusion, pain, violence, and poverty; the problem of
evil crosses knowledge. See the shadow. [p. 45]
As Kepler taught us, we believe that at the common centre of the
world the universal sun of knowledge and reason shines, but that the
shadow is dispersed in the second foci of diverse planets… [p. 46]
• Michel Serres, ‘Genesis’,
Or else–I’m not sure which way it points–the child Poussin in the
green boughs, Porbus at the main branching, and the old painter with
the diabolical look in the deep shade at the roots–looking like he’d
emerged from the dark shadows of Rembrandt. [p. 10]
• From a piece by artist Hreinn Fridfinnson, Serpentine Gallery, Summer 2007.
I dreamt that I was on the farm where I was born and raised. My father (who is dead) and I were working in the homefield, collecting hay. We were going to transport the hay to the stables. It was rather dark outside, but quite warm. When we had loaded the wagon, my father disappeared, but his shadow was left behind and I knew that I was to apply it to the hubs of the wagon wheels to make them run more smoothly. Then I was to attach the wagon to the horses with strings made of light which had shone down through the sea. Then I woke up.
• Friedrich Nietzsche, Why I am so Wise, London: Penguin (Great Ideas
It was 1879 – I relinquished my Basel Professorship, lived through the summer like a shadow in St. Moritz and the following winter, the most sunless of my life, as a shadow in Naumburg. This was my Minimum: ‘The wanderer and his shadow’ came into existence during the course of it. I undoubtedly knew all about shadows in those days. [p. 9 - 10]
• Giorgio Agamben, ‘Genius’, in Profanations, New York: Zone Books, 2007.
Horace is no doubt right to suggest that there is, in reality, one Genius who changes – by turns candid and shadowy, sometimes wise and sometimes depreved. In other words, what changes is not Genius but our relationship to him, turning from luminous and clear to shadowy and opaque. [p. 16]
• W. G. Sebald and Jan Peter Tripp, Unrecounted, London: Penguin 2005, [p. 43]
• Michel Foucault, ‘Of other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias’.
In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror.
• Raymond Queneau (quoted by Georges Perec at the beginning of W or The Memory of Childhood, London: Harvill, 1996.
That mindless mist where shadows swirl, how could I pierce it
• Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?
This is what we call the Event, or the part that eludes its own actualisation in everything that happens. The event is not the state of affairs. It is actualised in a state of affairs, in a body, in an experience, but it has a shadowy and secret part that is continually subtracted from or added to its actualisaton: in contrast with the state of affairs, it neither begins nor ends but has gained and kept the infinite movement to which it gives consistency. [p. 146-7]
• Enrique Vila-Matas, Bartleby & Co.
(The narrator has written a letter to himself, imagining it to have come from ‘Derain’, who give advice concerning ‘Bartlebys’ that could be included in the book of notes on Bartleby’s in literature.) Include Marcel Duchamp in your book about Bartleby’s shadow. Duchamp knew that shadow personally. He made it with his own hands. [p. 57]
In reality Scapolo is frightening, because he walks straight through a terrible zone, a zone of shadows which is also where the most radical of denials has its home and where the blast of coldness, in short is a blast of destruction. [p. 65.]
• Reza Negarestani, ‘Machines are Digging: Porous Earth and Emergence’
The Unground is a shadow outside of time and space.
• Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, Hallward, (trans.) London: Verso, 2001.
[The human animal] has succeeded in harnessing to the service of his mortal life his own peculiar ability – his ability to take up a position along the course of truths such that he acquires an Immortal aspect. This is what Plato had already anticipate, when he indicated that the duty of these who escape from his famous cave, dazzled by the sun of the Idea, was to return to the shadows and to help their companions in servitude to profit from that by which, on the threshold of this dark world, they had been seize. [p.59]
• From ‘Madness and Repetition: The Absence of Work in Deleuze, Fourcault, and Jacques Martin’, by Eleanor Kaufman, published in Deleuze & Guattari: New Mappings in Politics, Philosophy and Culture, London: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.
Foucault’s very language resonates with the trill of the double: “lining unlined, there is no longer anything but a silence, a look, slow motion gestures that unfold in the empty space beneath the masks”; or, “tear that unlines the double and immediately restores it to its marvelous unity”; or still, “it is a question of the same figure of a language split in two, inside of which a visible scene, produced by this distance’s single call, takes up its abode”; and, finally, “this gentle shadow that makes things visible from beneath their surface and their masks and allows one to speak about them, isn’t this from their birth, the proximity of death, of death that unlines the world like the peeling of fruit?” [p. 232]
• Octavio Paz on Adolfo Bioy Casares quoted by Suzanne Jill Levine in her introduction to Bioy Casares’ The Invention of Morel.
The body is imaginary, and we bow to the tyranny of a phantom. Love is a privileged perception, the most total and lucid not only of the unreality of the world but of our own unreality: not only do we traverse a realm of shadows; we ourselves are shadows.
• Adolfo Bioy Casares‘ narrator in The Invention of Morel, Ruth L. C. Simms, (trans.), published by New York Review of Books, 2003
Although I have been making entries in this diary at regular intervals, I have not had a chance to work on the books that I hoped to write as a kind of justification for my shadowy life on this earth. [ p. 20]