In many ways, Semiotex(e)’s English translation of Hervé Guibert's To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life (2020) could not be timelier. For although it was published first in French thirty years ago and the author himself has been dead for nineteen years, it is nevertheless easy to see how—if this English translation were published even half a year later—its new introduction by Andrew Durbin might be very different. Indeed, this roman à clef about AIDS would likely refer instead to social distancing, contact tracing, global pandemics, and biopolitics. Besides the author's painful description of his futile pursuit of and experimentation with differing AIDS drugs like AZT and Digitaline, or grim reflections on his perpetually shifting T4 count, it also shares an intimate portrait of his friend Michel Foucault's death from AIDS in 1984, a portrait that reshaped the official public...
Friendship, Sickness, and Biopolitics: Hervé Guibert's Difficulty
Jeremy Bell is an independent scholar specializing in the aesthetic anthropology of contemporary life. With a PhD in cultural studies from Trent University, he focuses on transgression and its differing roles for theory, art, and writing. He teaches at Fleming College.
Jeremy Bell; Friendship, Sickness, and Biopolitics: Hervé Guibert's Difficulty. Cultural Politics 1 July 2021; 17 (2): 252–254. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-8947963
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