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Intrigues

From Being to the Other

Gabriel Riera

Publication Year: 2007

Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an ethical moment or turncharacterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

The research for this book was made possible by the generous support of two Princeton University Research Grants.
I am also grateful for the continued support of Juliet Flower MacCannell, J. Hillis Miller, Tracy MacNulty, and Claudia Brodsky throughout the years....

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other. It explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected literary criticism. Emmanuel Levinas...

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1. The Passion of Time: Au moment voulu (Nietzsche-Heidegger-Blanchot)

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pp. 16-37

For Blanchot intrigue names an inextricable relation between at least two human beings and the not-assimilable strangeness that language harbors. The ‘‘relation of the third type’’ is ‘‘without horizon,’’ by which Blanchot means that neither a positive...

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2. Dwelling: Between Poiēsis and Technē

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pp. 38-54

Although aberrant from the point of view of conventional literary scholarship and no less debatable from literary theory,1 Heidegger’s discourse on poetry and the work of art throws some light on why the project of a ‘‘metaphysics of Dasein,’’ sketched...

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3. The Enigma of Manifestation(Figuration in Heidegger)

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pp. 55-84

Heidegger’s detour through Ho¨lderlin’s poetry leaves the project of the ‘‘overcoming of aesthetics’’ in disarray and opens the path to a ‘‘step back’’ from metaphysics and a radical redefinition of language. This detour does not amount to making Heidegger’s...

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4. Plot and Intrigue: From Being’s Other to the ‘‘Otherwise than Being’’(Language, Ethics, Poetic Language in Levinas)

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pp. 85-105

Is it possible to write the other without assimilating or reducing it to the same, to an object or a thing, to concepts, categories or descriptions? What is this O/other that at times is my neighbor and at times wholly other...

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5. Art’s Inhumanity: ‘‘Reality and Its Shadow’’

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pp. 106-134

The face-à-face describes a non-intersubjective and nonviolent relation between the other and the self guaranteed by the straightforwardness of discourse that takes place on this side of pure being, the impersonal and anonymous...

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6. ‘‘The Writing of the Outside,’’ Blanchot with Levinas, or the ‘‘Potentiality’’ of Poetic Language in Otherwise than Being

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pp. 135-154

One can imagine a voice that ‘‘comes from the other shore’’ and by saying ‘‘at this very moment here I am,’’ ‘‘interrupts the saying of the already said.’’ It is a voice that refuses to tell stories, much like the one in Maurice...

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7. The Unerasable Difference (Levinas in Blanchot)

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pp. 155-188

Although the friendship between Levinas and Blanchot is known to have begun in the mid-1920s when they were both students in Strasbourg and spanned several decades,1 for Blanchot their relationship cannot be simply reduced to a series of facts or...

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Postface

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pp. 189-196

Not unlike Levinas, Blanchot employs the term intrigue to refer to the ‘‘relation of the third type’’ and to the ‘‘exigency of speech’’ when faced with the strangeness of language. Intrigue is not only a descriptive term, but also what unfolds in and as...

Notes

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pp. 197-228

Bibliography

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pp. 229-242

index

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pp. 243-247


E-ISBN-13: 9780823248025
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823226719
Print-ISBN-10: 0823226719

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2007