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This is the introductory letter that serves as a general orientation to the intellectual project of the book as a whole. It makes the case for an epistolary way of continuing an intellectual relationship with Stuart Hall in the wake of his passing. The letter-form, it argues, is one way of evading the pitfalls of “critique” while constructing a discerning relationship with the thinking of others. Most important, the epistolary form enables us to give intellectual friendship its due. Intellectual friendship, it is maintained, does not presume a convergence of views, agreement, but rather reciprocally shelters differences. What intellectual friendship aims at is the hermeneutic attitude of clarification.

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