Maurice Blanchot

By Ullrich Haase; William Large | Go to book overview

5

LITERATURE AND ETHICS

The impact of Levinas

In this chapter we shall begin to analyse a change in direction and style of Blanchot's work. The change in style marks an increasing blurring of the margins between Blanchot's critical and fictional work and we shall say more about this in the first section of this chapter. The change in direction is Blanchot's growing focus on ethical and political questions in relation to literature. It is this that will become the significant topic of the next chapters of the book. In this chapter we will concentrate on the importance of ethics in Blanchot's work. We shall see that for Blanchot this relation can only be thought through the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. Before we go on to the portrayal of the influence of Levinas's ethics on Blanchot, however, we shall investigate the first point of contact between their work, which is the phenomenon of the 'there is'. Even though Levinas's ethics is an important factor in understanding Blanchot's work, we also want to show the important difference in how they conceive of the status of writing. This will enable us to introduce the important concept of the 'neuter' in Blanchot's work and give a fully rounded description of his concept of both language and literature.


BLANCHOT'S STYLE

Before publication of The Infinite Conversation (1969), we could speak of

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Maurice Blanchot
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Why Blanchot? 1
  • Key Ideas 9
  • 1 - What is Literature? 11
  • 2 - Language and Literature 25
  • 3 - Death and Philosophy 37
  • 4 - Death 51
  • 5 - Literature and Ethics 67
  • 6 - Blanchot as Nationalist 85
  • 7 - Ethics and Politics 97
  • 8 - The Literary Community 111
  • After Blanchot 129
  • Further Reading 135
  • Internet Resources 142
  • Index 143
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