Jean-Francois Lyotard Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Jean-Francois Lyotard

Birthday :

August 10, 1924

Died On :

April 21, 1998

Birth Place :

Versailles, Île-de-France, France

Zodiac Sign :


Jean-Francois Lyotard was born on August 10, 1924. He was a French philosopher and sociologist. He was also a literary theorist. He is famous to date due to his postmodernism ideologies. He researched the impact of postmodernity on the human condition. He co-founded the International College of Philosophy. He died on April 21, 1998, at the age of seventy three.

Early Life

Jean-Francois Lyotard was born on August 10, 1924, in Versailles in France. He was born to Jean Pierre Lyotard who was a sales representative and Madeleine Cavalli. He attended the Paris Lycee Buffon and Louis Le Grand for his primary education. He later joined Sorbonne where he studied philosophy. After he graduated, he became a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research, France.

In 1950, he became a philosophy teacher in Constantine in French Algeria. In 1971, he obtained a State Doctorate with his dissertation ‘Discours, Figure.’ In 1948, he got married to his first wife Andree May with whom he had two kids, Laurence and Corrine. In 1993, he married his second wife Dolores Djidzek with whom he had a son, David.



In 1954, Jean-Francois Lyotard became a member of ‘Socialisme ou Barbarie’ which was a French political organization. While in the organization he wrote essays that were aimed at giving hope to the Algerian people during the Algerian War of Liberation. In 1964, he left the earlier organization and became a member of ‘Pouvoir Ouvier’ which was a splinter group. In 1996, he resigned from the latter organization. In 1974, he published his book ‘Libidinal Economy’ which was all about revolutionary Marxism.

In 1950, he became a teacher at the Lycee of Constantine in Algeria, a post he held up to 1952. In 1972, he started teaching at the University of Paris VIII until 1987 when he was promoted to Professor Emeritus. He was also a professor of Critical Theory at the University of California. He was a visiting professor in institutions such as the University of California in Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Stony Brook University, Yale University, University of California, the University of Montreal in Canada and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Jean-Francois Lyotard also co-founded the International College of Philosophy with Francois Chatelet, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida. He was also the Woodruff Professor of Philosophy and French at Emory University. In his works throughout his career, he opposed universals, generality, and meta-narratives.



Jean-Francois Lyotard died on April 21, 1998, of complications that come with leukaemia while he was preparing for a conference in France. He died at the age of seventy three. His remains are buried in Division 6 of Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

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