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Encyclopedia > Maurice Blanchot
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Maurice Blanchot (September 27, 1907-February 20, 2003) was a French philosopher, literary theorist and writer of fiction. His influence on later post-structuralist theorists such as Jacques Derrida is difficult to overstate. It would be wrong to speak of Blanchot's work in terms of a coherent, all-encompassing 'theory', since it is a work founded on paradox and impossibility. If there is a thread running through all his writing, it is the constant engagement with the 'question of literature', a simultaneous enactment and interrogation of the profoundly strange experience of writing. For Blanchot, 'literature begins at the moment when literature becomes a question' (Literature and the Right to Death). Jump to: navigation, search September 27 is the 270th day of the year (271st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 95 days remaining. ... 1907 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Jump to: navigation, search February 20 is the 51st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search 2003 (MMIII) is a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Jump to: navigation, search A philosopher is a person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy. ... Jump to: navigation, search Literary theory is the theory (or the philosophy) of the interpretation of literature and literary criticism. ... Jump to: navigation, search The term writer can apply to anyone who creates a written work, but the word more usually designates those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. ... // Headline text Headline text Italic textItalic textItalic textItalic textItalic textItalic textItalic textBold textBold textBold textBold text--65. ... Jump to: navigation, search Post-structuralism is a term used to describe mostly French language scholarship that emerged in the mid- to late 1960s to challenge the primacy of structuralism in the human sciences: anthropology, psychoanalysis, history, literary criticism, and philosophy. ... Jump to: navigation, search This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Blanchot draws on the work of the symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé in formulating his conception of literary language as anti-realist and distinct from everyday experience. Literary language, as double negation, demands that we experience the absence masked by the word as absence; it exposes us to the exteriority of language, an experience akin to the impossibility of death. Blanchot engages with Heidegger on the question of the philosopher's death, showing how literature and death are both experienced as anonymous passivity. Édouard Manet, Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé . Stéphane Mallarmé (March 18, 1842 – September 9, 1898) was a French poet and critic. ... Jump to: navigation, search Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher. ...


Blanchot's work was also strongly influenced by his friends Georges Bataille and Emmanuel Levinas. Blanchot's later work in particular is influenced by Levinasian ethics and the question of responsibility to the Other. On the other hand, Blanchots own literary works, like the famous "Thomas the Obscure", heavily influenced Levinas' and Bataille's ideas about the possibility that our vision of reality is blurred because of the use of words (thus making everything you perceive automatically as abstract as words are). This search for the 'real' reality is illustrated by the works of Paul Celan and Stephané Mallarmé. George Bataille Georges Bataille (September 16, 1897 – July 9, 1962) was a French writer, anthropologist and philosopher, though he avoided the latter term himself. ... Emmanuel Levinas (January 12, 1906 - December 25, 1995) was a Jewish philosopher originally from Kaunas in Lithuania, who moved to France where he wrote most of his works in French. ... The other or constitutive other is a key concept in psychology and philosophy where it is often considered to be what defines or even constitutes the self (see self (psychology), self (philosophy), and self-concept) and other phenomena and cultural units: What appear to be cultural units--human beings, words... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


His best-known fictional work is Thomas the Obscure, an unsettlingly abstract novel about the experience of reading.


Blanchot died on February 20, 2003 in Yvelines. Yvelines is a French département in the région of Île-de-France. ...


Blanchot and ethics

After a short flirt with the far-right liberalist group Jeune Droite in his early twenties, Blanchot quickly withdrew from public life and decided to live in seclusion of society. Due to a traumatic experience with the Russians in the Second World War (Blancot was hiding Levinas' yewish wife and daughter in his house, and was almost excecuted by the Russians, assuming he was a nazi ) violence became a main theme. Blanchot states that there is a possibility to create an ethics based upon the existence of violence in a democratic society. Since ethics did not prevent violence (for example, the existence of the ethical rule "You shall not kill" did not prevent people getting murdered during the existence of the rule) ethical rules cannot undo the very existence of violence. Secondly, violence can never be ethical(an idea based upon anarchistic socities: the belief that admitting to violence (en thus making an ethical rule of it) could make violence undone)). Blanchot believes there is a third way to construct an ethical system: by carefully balancing between the former two ethics, neither completely believing the 'holy rules' of ethics nor the power of violence, always being critcial about one's own beliefs, you can create a perpetual critical conscience, always evaluating one's ethical beliefs and thus constituting the best possible ethical system. Emmanuel Levinas (January 12, 1906 - December 25, 1995) was a Jewish philosopher originally from Kaunas in Lithuania, who moved to France where he wrote most of his works in French. ...


Principal works

  • Thomas l'Obscur, 1941 (Thomas the Obscure: fiction)
  • L'Arrêt de mort, 1948 (Death Sentence: fiction)
  • La Part du feu, 1949 (The Work of Fire)
  • L'Espace littéraire, 1955 (The Space of Literature)
  • L'Entretien infini, 1969 (The Infinite Conversation)
  • Le Pas au-delà, 1973 (The Step Not Beyond)
  • L'Ecriture du désastre, 1980 (The Writing of the Disaster)
  • (The Book to Come)
  • (The Instant of My Death: Demeure: Fiction and Testimony)

External links

  • Espace Maurice Blanchot
  • Timothy Clark: Literary Encyclopedia Entry
  • Studio Cleo
  • Stephen Mitchelmore: The Absent Voice
  • Lars Iyer: The City and the Stars
  • Lars Iyer: Our Responsibility: Blanchot's Communism
  • Will Large: Blanchot: The Neuter
  • Confronting the Disaster
  • Beatitude: Blanchot and Death

  Results from FactBites:
 
Maurice Blanchot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (305 words)
Maurice Blanchot (September 27, 1907-February 20, 2003) was a French philosopher, literary theorist and writer of fiction.
Blanchot draws on the work of the symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé in formulating his conception of literary language as anti-realist and distinct from everyday experience.
Blanchot engages with Heidegger on the question of the philosopher's death, showing how literature and death are both experienced as anonymous passivity.
Station Hill Authors -- Maurice Blanchot (755 words)
Blanchot’s fiction draws the reader in by upsetting expectations, we are confronted by characters who are in situations they don’t completely understand, the settings are mysterious, almost surreal.
Maurice Blanchot's work is an invitation to the reader to join him on those severe and icy slopes of consciousness, to experience what it means to be both fully dead--utterly separated from the world, "a shadow on the sun"--and fully alive.
Blanchot's work is, as he says, "a force for transformation and creation, made to create enigmas rather than to elucidate them." For the first time, we are able to see it with some clarity.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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