Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

Abbreviations

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xii

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

p. xiii

read more

Introduction: Abstract and Concrete Modernity

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-26

Blanchot’s first novel, Thomas l’Obscur, begins with a scene that has long been regarded as paradigmatic for his approach to writing in general, and it is remarkable, as Jean Starobinski noted, how much of his later thought is already apparent in these opening...

read more

Part I: Contre-Temps

To understand what is at stake in the question of autonomy it is necessary to follow its development as an issue in the thought of Kant, Schiller, and Novalis, especially in regard to the peculiar temporal mode in which autonomy emerges. The unstable nature of the autonomy that arises from this account is exemplified...

read more

1. Autonomous Literature: The Manifesto and the Novel

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-57

Modernism in its fullest sense does not just refer to a mode of aesthetics but to a broader set of interconnected technological and sociopolitical issues. As such, it may be understood as the prevailing mood of a certain phase of industrial capitalism, which in turn can be characterized by the prevalence of certain contradictions...

read more

2. The Obscurities of Artistic Innovation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 58-90

In the summer of 1964 Blanchot wrote the following words: Such a way of seeing expresses a deliberate choice. One decides to consider certain traits as less important, but others as the only authentic ones: the taste for religion as accidental, the desire for revolt as essential; the concern...

read more

Part II: Negative Spaces

Having introduced the key issues involved in the relation of autonomy and negativity in literature, I will now move on to show how Blanchot deals with these issues. Part II is thus an intensive reading of Blanchot’s early writings that examines how autonomy and negativity are negotiated in the relations between...

read more

3. Dead Transcendence: Blanchot, Paulhan, Kafka

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-113

Blanchot’s first critical collection, Faux pas, was published in 1943 and largely consists of articles written over the previous two years. The climate of French philosophy at this time was heavily influenced by Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, and Heidegger, but what is interesting is the manner in which...

read more

4. An Image of Thought in Thomas l’Obscur

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 114-134

While it is clear that Blanchot approaches philosophical issues by way of literature, it is important to remember that this is coupled to its reverse, which is just as significant: that he approaches literature by way of philosophy. This does not make him into a quasi- or pseudo-philosopher, for his concern is always centered...

read more

5. Indifferent Reading in Aminadab

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-158

What is perhaps most profoundly significant about Blanchot’s writings, both fictional and critical, is that they appear to harbor a mode of ontological thought that arises from outside philosophy. This is not just a rethinking of the nature of literature but a way of thinking ontology more generally that proceeds...

read more

Part III: Material Ambiguity

Having shown how Blanchot develops his own notion of literary autonomy and its attendant experience of negativity through his critical and fictional writings, it is necessary to contextualize this work by returning to the theoretical perspective introduced in Part I. Thus, Part III is dedicated to understanding...

read more

6. The Language-Like Quality of the Artwork

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 161-190

Derrida structures his acceptance speech for the Adorno Prize around a dream that Benjamin had in October 1939, which he subsequently wrote about in a letter to Gretel Adorno. In this dream, Benjamin recalled a conversation in which he said in French, “It was about changing a poem into a fichu.”1 Within the context...

read more

7. The Possibility of Speculative Writing

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-220

For Adorno the question remains as to how the gestures of language are able to grant a form of (nonconceptual) understanding; in what way do they allow for a sensible knowledge of materiality in its diff erence, that is, without subsuming it into a system of identity, yet without also slipping into irrational...

read more

Part IV: Grey Literature

In bibliographical circles “grey literature” is a term that has arisen to refer to items like government, business, or scientific reports that are difficult to categorize because they lack certain details such as author, date, copyright, or source and that also have a limited distribution. In both cases the lack of concern with formal...

read more

8. Echo Location: Beckett’s Comment c’est

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 223-240

Adorno’s long essay on Fin de partie appeared in 1961 and is his only extended discussion of Beckett’s works. It is also one of his most lucid examinations of the dialectic of the material and the historical that revisits many of the themes from his earlier reading of Benjamin’s Trauerspiel study, since...

read more

9. The Negativity of Thinking through Language

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 241-254

If the question is one of understanding the nature and significance of Blanchot’s style of writing, then the response is that the development of his fictional writings in the 1940s has led to the emergence of a careful and deliberate style that is as critically precise and profound as philosophy but is not philosophy, insofar...

Appendix: Thomas l’Obscur, Chapter 1

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 255-262

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 263-298

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 299-312

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 313-316

Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 317-322