By Lars Iyer
Of the various questions provoked by means of Blanchot's proposal and writing, that of figuring out its moral and political value is of significant value. Exploring his literary serious and philosophical writings, and addressing such significant thoughts because the picture and the neuter, Blanchot's Vigilance offers a sustained research of Blanchot's reaction to the phenomenology of Husserl and Levinas, to Kierkegaard, Surrealism and to psychoanalysis.
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Additional info for Blanchot's Vigilance: Literature, Phenomenology and the Ethical
Rather, the work, which is to say, worklessness, the absence of the book, can only be indicated by Kafka’s tales. When, in The Step Not Beyond, Blanchot places the words writing and dying together, it is only to mark, the attenuation of the will. To write, to die: yes, it is possible to write as it is possible to die, only with literature, this possibility depends, in turn, upon an experience of impossibility – upon a lapse in the work of identification. 44 Existence, for Heidegger, remains projective and ecstatic; it already assumes being is not a burden.
For Hegel, image and original (the Idea) come together; the artistic whole is such that it cannot be broken into its constituents without losing the shining of the Ideal. Yet for Blanchot, the image, the materiality of the work, outplays the Idea, refusing reconciliation and peaceful repose in the Ideal. What does that mean? Is Blanchot claiming for art the capacity to give direct access to the immediate? If so, he risks retreating to a position Hegel exposed as hopelessly naïve? When Blanchot writes of the immediate it is to evoke the excessiveness of materiality, of sensuousness, over form, which is to say, the self-articulation of the Idea.
Dying is an event which cannot complete itself; it cannot, indeed, be localised as an event. It is an interruption or discontinuity, a suspension or reduction without subject. Who is the ‘subject’ of dying? No one. Personne. There is no ‘I’ to be there; no one who possesses initiative. It is here the relation to being reveals itself as the impossible. But to claim ‘being is impossible’, as Blanchot sees after The Space of Literature, still grants too much; it is necessary to underscore the way the account of Levinasian-Blanchotian ‘dying’ and ‘suffering’ breaks with ontology altogether.