Aiming to shake up the field of the ethical turn in criticism, Gabriel Riera’s book argues that repeated categorizations and localizations of the other have, for the most part, the cumulative effect of exhausting ethics. Things went wrong when the task of criticism was equated with staging the face to face with the other, assuming that representation, cognition, and communicative action was adequate to this encounter. Riera provides detailed close readings of Levinas to show paradoxically how the other is the first one to speak, yet also the one that cannot be reduced to the discursive. In a patient analysis that wends through Heidegger’s ethics of the unsayable in poetry and Blanchot’s quest for a neutral writing that aims for radical non-appropriation, Riera gives a compelling account of how ethical theory, following Levinas, must take seriously the intrigue of a writing that is neither wholly discursive nor poetic silence.


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pp. 150-153
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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