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o n e The Passion of Time: Au moment voulu (Nietzsche-Heidegger-Blanchot) To see the Moment (Augenblick) means to stand in it. —Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche And now? Now, the evidence had been shattered; the broken pillars of time were holding up their own ruins. —Maurice Blanchot, When the Time Comes 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 structure (disclosure, manifestation, transcendence ), nor a negative principle (the working of the negative, death), could manage to deneutralize it, to fill it with a content capable of containing the neuter’s disruptive paucity.1 Blanchot, not unlike Levinas, 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 ‘‘le moment voulu.’’ However, given that Blanchot deploys the temporality of the eternal return of the same, ‘‘the moment’’ is suspended between an anarchic past and a future to come. Intrigue names the temporalizing of the approach of the other, the event of the other, but also the temporality of the ‘‘responsive speech’’ that is writing. PAGE 16 16 ................. 16243$ $CH1 11-27-06 10:49:02 PS The Passion of Time: Au moment voulu 17 In Blanchot intrigue names the modality of the relation of the third kind as topos in which the exigency of speech triggers the scene of responsibility when faced with the strangeness of language. This scene is always a sudden and unexpected encounter in a space devoid of qualities— usually a room whose only feature is its typicality—and inhabited by a limited number of characters that function as points of passage for the circulation of the nonlinguistic rustle of language. This configuration speaks of the event-character of the relation of the third kind, which is neither a given nor a fact, but something proper to literary language. The literary mode of this encounter is the récit, a narrative modality interrupted by a sudden caesura that short-circuits the relationship between narrative discourse and narration. Moreover, this caesura disturbs the temporal markers of narrative and introduces an un-narrative supplement that in Au moment voulu (AMV)2 Blanchot designates with the term intrigue. In Au moment voulu, intrigue is not only a descriptive term but also what unfolds in and as ‘‘le moment voulu.’’ The purpose of this chapter is to read how the récit responds to the other, to the strange par excellence, once it deploys a configuration deprived of a horizon. This configuration presents three features: the outside interrupts the order of meaning, the order of the world ceases to be the guarantor of intelligibility, and the present is not the ruling temporal instance. While following in detail the experience of writing in Mallarmé, Kafka, and Rilke, The Space of Literature (1955) focuses on the moment when the writer forgets that ‘‘the ultimate demand that his movement makes’’ is not the fact of having a work, but that ‘‘someone (quelqu’un) faces this point’’ (SL 171/EL 226, 228): what eludes language and representation. The Space of Literature brings the experience of the ‘‘other night’’ to the order of discourse and thus repeats the writer’s Orphic gesture; the ‘‘other night’’ is what escapes the order of discourse but, at the same time, makes writing possible. Years earlier, in a ‘‘fictional’’ text titled Au moment voulu (1951), Blanchot explored the features of what later became ‘‘the space of literature.’’ In this récit language undergoes an experience of fidelity to the event of writing and follows a path that is the opposite of The Space of Literature. The récit’s language decomposes the spatio-temporal coordinates PAGE 17 ................. 16243$ $CH1 11-27-06 10:49:02 PS 18 Intrigues: From Being to the Other that make up the order of the world in such a way as to respond to ‘‘the ultimate demand’’ of writing. Au moment voulu belongs to an important period in Blanchot’s fictional and critical production; it is part of a set of texts in which several issues intersect: the impossible possibility of writing, the status of the récit and the other as what is strange.3 These unfold within a context punctuated by a productive reading...


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