An All-Too-Human Virus
An All-Too-Human Virus
Translated by Sarah Clift, Cory Stockwell

In the past, pandemics were considered divine punishment, but we now understand the biological characteristics of viruses and we know they are spread through social interaction. What used to be divine has become human – all too human, as Nietzsche would say.

But while the virus dispels the divine, we are discovering that living beings are more complex and harder to define than we had previously imagined, and also that political power is more complex than we may have thought. And this, argues Nancy, helps us to see why the term ‘biopolitics’ fails to grasp the conditions in which we now find ourselves. Life and politics challenge us together. Our scientific knowledge tells us that we are dependent only on our own technical power, but can we rely on technologies when knowledge itself includes uncertainties? If this is the case for technical power, it is much more so for political power, even when it presents itself as guided by objective data.

The virus is a magnifying glass that reveals the contradictions, limitations and frailties of the human condition, calling into question as never before our stubborn belief in progress and our hubristic sense of our own indestructibility as a species.

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  • January 2022
  • 100 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509550210
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509550227
  • Open eBook $36.00
  • 9781509550234
Table of Contents
Publisher’s Note



I. An All-Too-Human Virus
II. “Communovirus”
III. Let Us Be Infants
IV. Evil and Power
V. Freedom
VI. Neo-Viralism
VII. To Free Freedom
VIII. The Useful and the Useless
IX. Still All Too Human

Appendix 1: Interview with Nicolas Dutent
Appendix 2: From the Future to the Time to Come: The Revolution of the Virus (with Jean-François Bouthors)

Sources of the Texts
About the Author
Jean-Luc Nancy (1940 – 2021) was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Strasbourg.
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‘Into the craw of the pandemic, every tomorrow seems to have slid. Nancy here attempts to breathe out. In articulating the contradictions we confront and rendering the tentativeness of our situation palpable, he scans for an opening.’
Professor Joan Copjec, Brown University

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