The Time of Philosophy (with Svetlana Alexievich)

Kélina Gotman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Weaving between anecdote, memoir and ‘empty time’, this fictional conversation with the Nobel Prize-winning author of The Unwomanly Face of War, Svetlana Alexievich, stages another genre of philosophy that would be, like her polyphonic style of documentary writing, not heroic as much as intimate. Set in Athens, while reaching towards Siberia, the conversation moves between the wartime 1940s and the late 2010s, gently broaching taboos of philosophical discourse: confession, ‘personal life’, memoir, love, family relations, doubt, fear, audience, and the time and place of writing, to arrive at a bare space of philosophical address, where nothing much happens except time passing. At once classically philosophical in its search for a form of life truthful to the Heraclitean dictum to search (for) oneself, and to Rousseauvian and Cartesian gestures of meditation and reverie, the essay also offers a language for thinking the textures and movements of thought–its quiet choreography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalComparative and Continental Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019


  • choreography
  • intimacy
  • Temporality
  • war
  • women
  • writing


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