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Wednesday 26 September 2007

Blanchot's negativity

An essay over on Mike Duff's The Joyful Knowing blog entitled Blanchot and Hegel's abstract negativity that I'll respond to at the weekend. For now, the opening lines:


In Literature and the Right to Death, Maurice Blanchot invokes, like Bataille throughout his Inner Experience, the concept of pure nothing, (or, as a power, a becoming) abstract negativity, that Hegel defines early on in the Master-Slave dialectic in the Phenomenology of Spirit as well as in the beginning of the Science of Logic. The use for this is clear, and also aptly summarizes what I think Bataille thinks of it also, with respect to the work of literature. Blanchot says that "Literature professes to be important while at the same time considering itself an object of doubt," in the sense that it, "by its very activity, denies the substance of what it represents" and thus is "its own negation".

Posted by Mark Thwaite
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Reader Comments

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Leora Skolkin-Smith says...

hiya, Mark. I just wanted to send you a podcast I found in the New York Times, Sunday section on books. I thought it was relevant. Above all, there seems to be a disconnect here in the States in that all philosophical novels are directly associated with Sartre's "existentialism". In particular, there was no mention of Blanchot's influence on modernist writers or writing in general!

Anyway, just in case it might interest people here here's the link: http://podcasts.nytimes.com/podcasts/2007/02/23/24bookupdate.mp3

Saturday 29 September 2007

Edward Mycue says...

lawrence fixel (1917-2003) often spoke of blanchot.
as did justine jones fixel (1920-2007) and i wonder if what i wrote about what i call a history of misinformation relates to blanchot and his teaching and his idea of negativity. this is the piece of mine:

HISTORY OF MIXEDINFORMATION A CIVIL TESTAMENT

misinformation? i hear it as "mixedinformation". justine jones fixel’s “sand tray”
therapy, its development & interpretation of its use lead back to work of incorporations, assemblings, environments with miniature figures, furniture, the natural world &

symbols, including jungian themes, household objects combined into a mixture or conglomerated arranged autobiography & family history. only so much drifts up and comes to me; maybe tomorrow, i tell my mind, which tires and yields no more today. each time something new/ old to be added—to be added & maybe subtracted, perhaps:

accretion and attrition. i am revisioning here, looping backward on some primitive or primal vision quest, the kind that become formalized and discussed in cultural studies classes, the phenomenological journey that i will describe here/ now as JOURNEY FOR A WITNESS the name of the never published novel lawrence fixel wrote in those rome years 1960-63 that i first read in manuscript in 1971. is it a journey for a witness in a shifting landscape. this is/can be good or/& bad if it is thought of as ‘dissembling’—something justine fixel abhorred: a consciously altering what happened. depending on your point or viewing. it can be what propaganda means to us in the worst sense of public

lying: a manipulation of truth, not just facts finally but essentially truth. so there is the disassembly or dis-assembling (‘dis’ is the lower, underworld, of disharmony, discord, associated with pluto, its god, hades), but it is also a rereading a re-visioning, a re-framing, new orchestration of old information: information, re-view, re-seen, re interpreted, an imagining the event the speech or/and physical happening from other angles, from other interlocutors’ other witnesses’. and in this journey it is the nature of witnessing and the recall of the witness, of the witnessing. here i part from ludwig wittgenstein, who said you shouldn’t speak what can’t be clearly expressed: my

way is to experience what unfolds and to look at all of it as evidence. so my writing is a swiveling journey of weaving assessment/ reassessment. thus i don’t retreat from nor remove the record of my experience (no such soviet ‘erasures’)/ memory however faulty.
tomorrow is another re-calling and inch by inch like a snail leaving my trail the dried

goo of it may later appear in a moondream of my youth as a kind of diamond dust just as
the glittery broken glass & trash did in that grungy alley behind darthmouth street in boston’s southend in 1960 when i went from denton, texas for more graduate study there. i tell whati remember & as process correct/ re-correct as each time reconnects, rebraids.
i could call this memory/ meditation ‘bumps & dimples’ the way it recedes & comes forward in the convex & concave—hills& dales, lakes& streams, wells & springs of

incidence & coincidence—co-inside/co-outside: the stigmata of mortality that some might consider history yet is but some scattered remains & this a civil testament of it.

Edward Mycue 28 August 2007

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