Sunday, March 01, 2009

Fragments of the true boss

This is the literary sale of the century. Old Head Books & Collections in Skibbereen, a town in County Cork in Ireland, is offering eight books of Blanchot's from his own library.

First up are proofs of L'Entretien infini corrected by Blanchot, a book which is, as the seller charmingly puts it, "one of Blanchot's major engagements with the complex and ethereal ideas regarding the fictional universe that constituted his chief theme throughout a large and diverse opus".

Next are proofs of the récit L'Attente oubli (translated as Awaiting Oblivion). According to the book description, these "may be the only remaining materials reasonably describable as 'manuscripts' to have been preserved from among his effects at his death in 2003, and it was only by chance that these survived – they were salvaged from the rubbish bin by the husband of Blanchot's long-time housekeeper".

Before you join the queue, you should know the first item is priced at over £24,000. The least expensive is another copy of L'Attente l'oubli for £242. Still, if you're in Ireland, shipping is only £1:95.

(Thanks to Spurious for the news).

UPDATE: A couple of years after this was posted, Harvard University purchased the archive. You can read more about how it came about in this conversation, which mentions that they first heard of their availbility through this very blog.


  1. Just as a matter of curiosity- though, of course, matters of curiosity are only matters of curiosity if indeed found to be so in the mind of the beholder of said curiosity- I am actually originally from that little town of Skibbereen: one of the further reaches of Western civilisation before it impolitely ends in the implacable Atlantic, no respecter of tradition or reputation .

  2. These manuscripts sound like they have been stolen.

    By the way has anyone one noticed the peculiar similarity of Blanchot's end and Peter Klein's in Canetti's novel Auto Da Fe?



Please email me at steve dot mitchelmore at gmail dot com.

Blog Archive

Contact steve dot mitchelmore at Powered by Blogger.