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Friendship
     

Friendship

by Maurice Blanchot, Elizabeth Rottenberg (Translator)
 

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For the past half century, Maurice Blanchot has been an extraordinarily influential figure on the French literary and cultural scene. He is arguably the key figure after Sartre in exploring the relation between literature and philosophy.

This collection of 29 critical essays and reviews on art, politics, literature, and philosophy documents the wide range of

Overview

For the past half century, Maurice Blanchot has been an extraordinarily influential figure on the French literary and cultural scene. He is arguably the key figure after Sartre in exploring the relation between literature and philosophy.

This collection of 29 critical essays and reviews on art, politics, literature, and philosophy documents the wide range of Blanchot's interests, from the enigmatic paintings in the Lascaux caves to the atomic era. Essays are devoted to works of fiction (Louis-René des Forêts, Pierre Klossowski, Roger Laporte, Marguerite Duras), to autobiographies or testimonies (Michel Leiris, Robert Antelme, André Gorz, Franz Kafka), or to authors who are more than ever contemporary (Jean Paulhan, Albert Camus).

Several essays focus on questions of Judaism, as expressed in the works of Edmond Jabès, Emmanuel Levinas, and Martin Buber. Among the other topics covered are André Malraux's "imaginary museum," the Pléiade Encyclopedia project of Raymond Queneau, paperback publishing, the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Benjamin's "Task of the Translator," Marx and communism, writings on the Holocaust, and the difference between art and writing. The book concludes with an eloquent invocation to friendship on the occasion of the death of Georges Bataille.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is an extraordinary work of criticism—literary, cultural, political—but also of writing. It manages to weave together an almost journalistic directness and clarity with a philosophical-theoretical meditation of tingling complexity. Its appearance is an event of considerable importance and of great excitement, not simply because many of the essays in this volume are of enormous significance by themselves, but because the style and concerns of the book make it of interest to a broader reading public as well as academics.”—Thomas Keenan, Princeton University
Library Journal
Emerging from obscurity, Blanchot is now regarded as one of the great 20th-century critics, but as The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French acknowledges, "It is not entirely clear why this change has come about." Though he displays vast erudition, readers anticipating observations on friendship reminiscent of Montaigne's famous essay at the end of Book 3 of Essais will be disappointed in these rambling, disjointed essays. Instead, Blanchot regales them with discussions of every topic imaginable, from the enigmatic paintings in the caves of Lascaux to the atomic era. Occasionally, he does offer brief, valuable insights on writers like Franz Kafka or Stphane Mallarm, who, like Blanchot, viewed writing as a total commitment carrying tremendous risks. This book will appeal only to Blanchot's small circle of admirers.Robert T. Ivey, Univ. of Memphis, Tenn.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804727594
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
07/01/1997
Series:
Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
326
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.75(h) x (d)

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