McKenzie Wark on Wed, 12 Mar 2003 04:07:42 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Maurice Blonchot (rip)

What can one say about Blonchot? Nowhere are
the difficulties of communication, the impossibility
of community, more thoroughly present -- and
confronted -- than in his writings.

Ken Wark

Radical Politics and the Writer
Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003)

French writer, essayist and novelist, Maurice
Blanchot died on Thursday February 20 at the
age of 95. In a fantasy world his death would
have gone almost unnoticed. Only in a fantasy,
nonetheless. For Blanchot was the most
enigmatic writer of 20th century France. And, in
an untypical sense, he was one of its greatest.

After frenetic activity as a rightwing political
journalist in his youth, Blanchot leaned toward
the novel and nationalist revolution, only to join
the French Resistance during WWII. In the
ensuing decades, his galvanizing communism led
him away from fiction and toward the essay
idiom to forge one of the most profound oeuvres
in French literature. He published little since the
nineteen-eighties. Yet his literary presence
draped an unfathomed cape of darkness over the
course of what we call here: 'French
poststructural thought'; and there: philosophy
tout court.

In the end, Blanchot's lesson is that one has to
choose, and that one has no choice but to choose.
A new breed of necessity is what others
misrepresent as destiny. Few choices lead to
effect. The greatness of Blanchot's work is that
effects made choice itself a radical necessity for
art. Far from the atheist saint his literary
silhouette projects, Blanchot's memory prevails in
its most accomplished form as a philosophical
demon altering the terms on which communities
may match the expectations and demands of

                   ... we no longer have roots, we have aerials ...

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