Maurice Blanchot's Exilic Writing
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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c o n t e n t s
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a b b r e v i at i o n s
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MD Maurice Blanchot, The Madness of the Day, trans. Lydia Davis Quatre lectures talmudiques (Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit, 1968)1998); Autrement qu’être ou au-delà de l’essence (Dordrecht: PW Maurice Blanchot, Maurice Blanchot: Political Writings, 1953–2010); Maurice Blanchot: Écrits politiques, 1953–1993, ed. Eric ...
a c k n ow l e d g m e n t s
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The cover design and the drafted image, The Dust Devil (based on a still from the work of Leslie Thornton), are by Thomas Zummer; for this gift, Chapter 1, on the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, was originally pub-lished under the title “Sabbatical Acquiescence” in Poiesis, ed. Stephen K. Levine, Vol. 8, 2006, 18–39. Chapter 2, “The Indestructible,” was origi-...
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...“An engaged literature”? One cannot easily assign such a phrase to Maurice Blanchot’s writings. But in 1981, Blanchot offered a rather surprising answer to a questionnaire from Catherine David on the theme.1 “I’m sent back thirty years,” he said, adding that this was a period when almost every writer on the left found this an irritating imperative for literature. Even ...
p a r t o n eSabbatic al Acquiescence
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Toward the Question of Peace
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A lmost midway through Totality and Infi nity, Emmanuel Levinas makes passing reference to something he calls a “sabbatical existence.” The phrase does not recur and is not signifi cantly defi ned. But I think we may under-stand by it a form of life that would honor in its acts a relation to the infi nite Good, and thus subordinate all work founded in need to the ethical relation.1...
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In the reading of Levinas that Blanchot pursues in The Infi nite Conversation, there is little response to what might be termed the fi rst word of Totality and Infi nity. Later, at the very end of The Step Not Beyond, and then in subsequent statements, we will hear an evocation of peace.1 But in the long introduction of the question of autrui in The Infi nite Conversation, the refer-...
p a rt t woRefusal/Affi rmation
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Beyond Refusal: The Madness of the Day
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T he enigmatic phrase that has impelled this study offers itself innocently I am not learned; I am not ignorant. I have known joys. That is saying too little: I am alive, and this life gives me the greatest pleasure. And what about death? When I die (perhaps any minute now), I will feel immense pleasure. I am not talking about the foretaste of death, which is stale and often disagreeable. ...
A Simple Change in the Play of Words: The Infi niteConversation
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In the last lines of the narrated conversation (“l’entretien”) that opens The Infi nite Conversation, we read of a refusal that is perhap s a willing of efface-ment, perhaps a step. The fragment in which these lines appear should be cited in its entirety, if only for the sheer poise with which it evokes the enigma of a willed departure from the apparent peace of a forever offered present....
Compassion for Suffering Humanity: The Instant of My Death
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These last words follow shortly after the description of an experience of deliverance in Blanchot’s last publication, The Instant of My Death—the brief narrative in which Blanchot retells the story of being brought before a fi ring squad (the scene also fi gures, as we have seen, in The Madness of the Day). It is a startling phrase, and not only for the fact of the bridge made ...
p a r t t h r e eThe Exilic Step
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The Step Not Beyond
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.... . . nor the absence of fear and perhaps already le pas au-delàPerhaps long before the publication of The Step Not Beyond, the anachro-nous step named in its title will already have been made. In relation, precisely, to what subsequent advent or occurrences, however? Will it have marked every text that follows the recounted event of 1944—every ...
Through the Double Imperative
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For one who has accompanied the movements to which the last pages of The Step Not Beyond attest, there can be few grounds for a conclusion: repetition, perhaps, but surely no conclusion. Could one possibly add a fi nal word to the “last words” of this writing or the benediction of the last exchange? Should the site of those disappearing not be marked by silence ...
Blanchot in The International Review
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The circumstances surrounding the attempted creation and eventual abandonment of The International Review, as it came to be called, are now well established. For a period of several years in the early 1960s, a number of prominent intellectuals from Europe and North America pursued actively the project of simultaneous publication in at least three languages ...
n o t e s
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...1. The response was published in Le Nouvel Observateur in a special issue entitled “Literature” (May 1981). David had asked: “(1) Can a writer today still believe in the virtues of committed [engagé] literature? (2) What is the best that this genre has produced, in your opinion? (3) Would you be prepared, under certain circumstances, to write in the service of a cause? If so, which one?” ...
i n d e x
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013