©2015 Metaflux Publishing


by Vilém Flusser
Translated by Rodrigo Maltez Novaes
210mm x 148mm
Design by Chagrin
ISBN 978 0 9933272 6 1
01 January 2017
Metaflux // Vilém Flusser


Groundless is, at the same time, Vilém Flusser’s autobiography and a singular title in the author’s literary production as a thinker. Written in 1973, one year after his return to Europe, when the author was only fifty-three years old, this work addresses a variety of themes, beyond the experiences of the one who reports them. Through an experimental structure, Vilém Flusser presents to the readers a series of philosophical dialogues that he maintained with the people who marked him during his life in Brazil. Among them, Alex Bloch, Haroldo de Campos, João Guimarães Rosa, Milton Vargas, Dora Ferreira da Silva, Vicente Ferreira da Silva, Miguel Reale, Samson Flexor, and Mira Schendel.

In a letter to Milton Vargas of 1973, Flusser writes: "To write a biography at 53 means 'to make biography', in the sense in which Hegel says that to write the history of philosophy means to make history and philosophy. ... to write a biography is not contemplation, but action ...". With this intention in mind, Vilém Flusser wrote a book where he explores how his past experiences, especially the experiences within the Brazilian reality, influenced him in the formation of his philosophical project.

The particularity with which he describes this process in Portuguese makes it a work of great value in the field of philosophy and communication and deserves to be published in English translated from its original version in Portuguese. This edition differs from the posthumous German edition of 1993 in that it restores the structure of the text to the author’s original manuscript.

Groundless is a key text for the study and understanding of Vilém Flusser’s work as a philosopher.


Editor’s note
Proof of Groundlessness
Prague Between the Wars
The Nazi Invasion
England Under Siege
The War in São Paulo
Playing With Suicide and the East
Brazilian Nature
The Brazilian Language

Dialogue I
Alex Bloch
Milton Vargas
Vicente Ferreira da Silva

Dialogue II
Samson Flexor
João Guimarães Rosa
Haroldo de Campos
Dora Ferreira da Silva
José Bueno

Dialogue III
Romy Fink
Miguel Reale
Mira Schendel

Communication Theory
Philosophy of Science


The philosopher Vilém Flusser was born in Prague in 1920 but emigrated to Brazil, fleeing from Nazi persecution, at the outbreak of war in 1939, arriving in Rio de Janeiro at the end of 1940, with his wife and parents-in-law, after a short stay in London. The Flussers settled in São Paulo during the 1940s, where they lived for thirty-two years. In the early years of the 1970s they moved back to Europe, settling first in Italy, and subsequently in Robion, France, where they lived until Vilém Flusser’s untimely death in 1991 after a car crash, as he left Prague at the end of a symposium.

During the years he lived in Brazil, Flusser wrote for several Brazilian periodicals and taught at different academic institutions, among them, the University of São Paulo, the Brazilian Institute of Philosophy, and the Institute of Technology and Aeronautics. His first two books, Lingua e Realidade and A História do Diabo, were published in Brazil during the 1960s. In the late 1970s, and throughout the 1980s, Flusser travelled most of Europe lecturing and participating in conferences and symposia, during which time he published his most well-known titles. He came to prominence in the field of Media Theory after publishing his seminal book Towards a Philosophy of Photography in 1984, shortly followed by Ins Universum der Technischen Bilder in 1985, and Die Schrift. Hat Schreiben Zukunft? in 1987.

As a polyglot, Flusser wrote in four different languages, German, Portuguese, English, and French. The Metaflux // Vilém Flusser collection aims to present to an international readership, high quality translations of Flusser’s Brazilian writings, including courses, monographs, essays, and letters, as well as works originally written in English by the author.

The Metaflux // Vilém Flusser collection is possible due to the generous support of Miguel Gustavo Flusser.