Saturday, June 13, 2009

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).

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