Vol. 13 No. 2 (2020): Reading Philosophy Through Archives and Manuscripts

In the name of the Author: The artificial unity of Jan Patočka’s scattered works

Ondřej Švec
Charles University, Prague

Published 2020-12-18


  • Jan Patočka,
  • Author function,
  • Body of work,
  • Complete Works,
  • Editorial practice

How to Cite

Švec, O. (2020). In the name of the Author: The artificial unity of Jan Patočka’s scattered works. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 13(2), 97–107. https://doi.org/10.13128/Aisthesis-11836

Funding data


At the time of his sudden death in 1977, the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka left a large philosophical legacy with no will and testament. For the last 43 years, the editors of his Collected Works have been reconstructing a unified and thematically articulated oeuvre from the more than 10,000 pages found in his drawers and boxes. It should in the end include not only the texts published during Patočka’s lifetime but also his many unpublished manuscripts, fragments, variations, drafts of unfinished philosophical projects, notebooks and letters. After demonstrating in which sense the death of the author coincides in Patočka’s case with the birth of his oeuvre, the article aims to show that the unity of Patočka’s work is not something given, but rather something to be artificially reconstructed, in an always disputable fashion, since the internal coherence of its various thematic divisions is necessarily itself a matter of ongoing interpretation.


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