Sunday, January 22, 2006

Reading backwards

I've decided to read Blanchot's books backwards. One can lose concentration reading the 54th entry in a collection like Faux Pas. So this time, I'm going to start with the very last piece: On Insolence Considered as One of the Fine Arts, a review of Solitice de juin by Henry de Montherlant.

The twelfth piece in Faux Pas is one of Blanchot's most thrilling essays: How is Literature Possible? It's a review-essay from 1941 of Jean Paulhan's The Flowers of Tarbes: or, Terror in Literature, a book that remained untranslated until the University of Illinois Press published it this month. Well done to it and translator Michael Syrotinski.

As I believe How is Literature Possible? demands attention from those engaged in the struggle for a renewal of literature in this country, I will attempt a précis of it in the near future. If it causes a deep, dark silence to descend on the literary community, it will have done its job.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:52 am

    I agree Steve. It is one of Blanchot's most important essays; the seed for everything else. But you are going to attempt to summarise it - what madness!



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