6 x 9 | 196 pages
Gary Shipley’s On the Verge of Nothing moves according to a patient logic, asking us to consider what follows when we begin from pessimism, rather than arriving at it. Through Shipley’s ciphers – Nietzsche, Pessoa, Lispector, contemporary performance art – pessimism is illuminated as at once unliveable and unconsolable, and yet unavoidable. Reading On the Verge of Nothing, the primordial philosophical question of “how to live” now takes on contours that are colder, more detached, and yet, somehow, deeply engaged.
–Eugene Thacker, author of Infinite Resignation
“Beginning insistently with the end of thought, this panegyric of the pointless offers a withering post-pessimistic ethics and aesthetics of diversionary tactics for life in the void. Territories traversed include dreams and delusions, the limits and purpose of self-consciousness, human animality, and the paradox of feeling-thinking. Gary J Shipley’s lucid, often pitiless diagnoses; rigorous, informed, and tight arguments; bons mots and essential apercus – larded with a rich compost of quotation (Pessoa, Lispector, Cioran, Kafka, etc.) – pursue a relentless thrashing of thought, sketching both a Bartlett’s and a Baedeker of our inevitable doom. These essays, aphorisms, fragments, and quotations have been shored not against but amidst ruin. Experimental, exploratory soundings and performances, a fantasia for the end of the world: this word horde is an essential drug for addicts of the impossible.”
— Stuart Kendall, author of Georges Bataille