This volume represents the proceedings of the conference “Singularités Franco-Japonaises”, which took place at CIRM (Marseille-Luminy) in September 2002 (it was already the second meeting of this type; the proceedings of the first meeting are also available, appearing in the series “Advanced Studies in the Pure Mathematics” of the Japanese Mathematical Society as volume 29, 2000). The whole conference was devoted to singularities of algebraic varieties and the volume consists of 26 articles on this topic. The articles are written by leading specialists in the field, who provide substantial contributions to our knowledge of the subject, and can serve as starting points for further investigations. They also present a very good overview of the state of contemporary research.
Naturally, we can hardly try to describe here the contents of 26 articles but the reader can use the abstracts (written in both English and French), which can be found at the beginning of the volume, as a quick orientation. A collection of articles of such a high quality is obviously indispensable for specialists. But I believe that even non-specialists with a good attitude towards algebraic geometry and singularity theory will find these articles interesting. Let me mention here as an illustration that I was attracted by the article “T. Suwa: Residues of Chern classes on singular varieties” and by the article “S. Yokura: Generalized Ginzburg-Chern classes”.