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Maurice Blanchot's impact on French thinking and culture over the last 50 years has been enormous. Yet he still remains a writer whose work, though often cited, is little-known to the English-speaking reader.
In The Blanchot Reader Michael Holland answers that urgent need and does so in a way that provides a coherent perspective on what by any standard is an extraordinary personal and intellectual career. We see how Blanchot in the 1940s anticipated later post-Sartrean trends, as followed by among others Samuel Beckett and the practitioners of the nouveau roman. We discover how the linguistic turn of the 1950s took place for Blanchot in a political climate, while also occurring within literature and philosophy, and we trace the emergence of the entretien, a dialogue format used by Blanchot to interrogate the writing of his contemporaries, and beyond this to entertain a real dialogue with the 'Other' and so to broach the question of ultimate responsibility. The volume concludes with a consideration of Blanchot's development of the 'fragment', in his philosophical and his political writings, as well as in those devoted to literature. A final subsection focuses on his recent midrash on Moses and Aaron, dedicated to Jacques Derrida.
A chronology of Blanchot's career and a succinct primary and secondary bibliography are also included, together with a list of English translations of Blanchot's work.