Political Writings, 1953-1993

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-09-04
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press

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Maurice Blanchot is a towering yet enigmatic figure in twentieth-century French thought. A lifelong friend of Levinas, he had a major influence on Foucault, Derrida, Nancy, and many others. Both his fiction and his criticism played a determining role in how postwar French philosophy was written, especially in its intense concern with the question of writing as such. Never an academic, he published most of his critical work in periodicals and led a highly private life. Yet his writing included an often underestimated public and political dimension.This posthumously published volume collects his political writings from 1953 to 1993, from the French-Algerian War and the mass movements of May 1968 to postwar debates about the Shoah and beyond. A large number of the essays, letters, and fragments it contains were written anonymously and signed collectively, often in response to current events. The extensive editorial work done for the original French edition makes a major contribution to our understanding of Blanchot’s work.The political stances Blanchot adopts are always complicated by the possibility that political thought remains forever to be discovered. He reminds us throughout his writings both how facile and how hard it is to refuse established forms of authority.The topics he addresses range from the right to insubordination in the French-Algerian War to the construction of the Berlin Wall and repression in Eastern Europe; from the mass movements of 1968 to personal responses to revelations about Heidegger, Levinas, and Robert Antelme, among others.When read together, these pieces form a testament to what political writing could be: not merely writing about the political or politicizing the written word, but unalterably transforming the singular authority of the writer and his signature.

Author Biography

Zakir Paul is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Kevin Hart is Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies in the Department o Religious Studies at the University of Virginia, where he also holds courtesy professorships in the departments of English and French.

Table of Contents

Translator's Notep. ix
Foreword: The Friendship of the Nop. xi
Introduction: "Affirming the Rupture"p. xxxi
Chronologyp. lvii
Le 14 Juillet and the Revue Internationale Project, 1953-1962
An Approach to Communism (Needs, Values)p. 3
Refusalp. 7
The Essential Perversionp. 8
Declaration of the Right to Insubordination in the Algerian War [Manifesto of the 121]p. 15
Updatep. 18
[The Declaration of the Right to Insubordination that we have signed]p. 20
[The Declaration ... is not a protest manifesto]p. 22
[For us, the first fact]p. 24
[It is as a writer]p. 26
[Interrogation with the judge]p. 29
[Questioned by the judge]p. 32
[First I would like to say]p. 33
[Maurice Blanchot to Jean-Paul Sartre]p. 36
Letters from the Revue Internationalep. 39
[The gravity of the project]p. 56
[A review can be the expression]p. 57
[A Review without any division]p. 59
Memorandum on the "Course of Things"p. 60
Course of Thingsp. 62
The Course of the Worldp. 67
The Conquest of Spacep. 70
Berlinp. 73
The Student-Writer Action Committee, the Review Comité, 1968
Tracts of the Student-Writer Action Committee (Sorbonne-Censier)
[The solidarity that we assert here]p. 79
[A government does not govern]p. 79
[By the power of refusal]p. 80
Crimep. 80
[Letter to a representative of Yugoslav radio-television]p. 82
Comité: The First Issue
[The possible characteristics]p. 85
In a State of Warp. 86
Affirming the Rupturep. 88
[Today]p. 89
[Political death]p. 89
[The streets]p. 91
[Communism without heirs]p. 92
[For a long rime, brutality]p. 93
[Tracts, posters, bulletins]p. 94
Letter to Ilija Bojovicp. 95
[That the immense constraint]p. 97
[Exemplary acts]p. 98
[Exemplary acts]p. 99
[Two characteristic innovations]p. 99
[A rupture in time: revolution]p. 100
[For Comrade Castro]p. 100
[Ideological surrender]p. 102
(Clandestine resistance out in the open]p. 103
[Reading Marx]p. 103
On the Movementp. 106
Paranoia in Power (The Dialectics of Repression: A Small Contribution to Research)p. 110
Interventions, 1970-1993
Refusing the Established Orderp. 117
Thinking the Apocalypsep. 119
Do Not Forgetp. 124
Yes, Silence Is Necessary for Writingp. 130
"Factory-Excess," or Infinity in Piecesp. 131
In the Night That Is Watched Overp. 133
For Friendshipp. 134
Our Clandestine Companionp. 144
The Ascendant Word; or, Are We Still Worthy of Poetry?p. 153
Encounters (On the Resistance and May 68)p. 161
Peace, Peace Far and Nearp. 162
Letter to Blandine Jeansonp. 167
Our Responsibility (On Nelson Mandela)p. 168
What Is Closest to Mep. 170
Writing Committed to Silencep. 171
(I think it suits a writer better] (On Nationalism and Internationalism)p. 173
[The Inquisition destroyed the Catholic religion] (On Salman Rushdie)p. 174
Notesp. 175
Index of Namesp. 199
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