Britain's first book blogger (November 2000)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blanchot: Political Writings, 1953–1993

In early 2010, Fordham University Press is publishing Zakir Paul's translation of Maurice Blanchot's Ecrits politiques: 1953-1993.
This posthumously published volume collects his political writings from 1953 to 1993, from the French-Algerian War and the mass movements of May 1968 to postwar debates about the Shoah and beyond. A large number of the essays, letters, and fragments it contains were written anonymously and signed collectively, often in response to current events.



While political writings as such do not interest me, Blanchot's are an inevitable exception.
When read together, these pieces form a testament to what political writing could be: not merely writing about the political or politicizing the written word, but unalterably transforming the singular authority of the writer and his signature.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Walking with Celan

The falling chestnuts hit the ground with a dry sound. Detonations. It’s nature massed in the air that turns and rolls like bursts of a meteor.
— So it is possible that the earth is a limit to the infinite of language…

After a long silence punctured with noise, he continues:
— The world is of glass.
— And disappearance is within us.
From Jean Daive's Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan translated by Rosmarie Waldrop, via Nomadics.

Under ancient skies

Apparently we read only because what is written is already there, laying itself out before our eyes. Apparently. But the first one to write, the one who cut into stone and wood under ancient skies, was hardly responding to the demands of a view requiring a reference point and giving it a meaning; rather, he was changing all relations between seeing and the visible. What he left behind was not something more, something added to other things; it was not even something less – a subtraction of matter, a hollow in relation to a relief. Then what was it? A gap in the universe: nothing that was visible, nothing invisible. I suppose the first reader was engulfed by this non-absent absence, but without knowing anything about it. And there was no second reader because reading, from now on understood as the vision of a presence immediately visible, that is to say intelligible, was affirmed precisely in order to make this disappearance into the absence of the book impossible.
Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation pp422-423 (translated by Susan Hanson).

Brutal rhythm

Writing delights me. That's nothing new. That's the only thing that still supports me, that will also come to an end. That's how it is. One does not live forever. But as long as I live I live writing. That's how I exist. There are months or years when I cannot write. Then it comes back. Such rhythm is both brutal and at the same time a great thing, something others don't experience.
Thomas Bernhard, via Spurious.

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