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Thomas the Obscure

Overview

Before Sartre, before Beckett, before Robbe-Grillet, Maurice Blanchot created the new novel, the ultimate post-modern fiction. Written between 1932 and 1940, Blanchot's first novel, here brilliantly translated by Robert Lamberton, contains all the remarkable aspects of his famous and perplexing invention, the ontological narrative--a tale whose subject is the nature of being itself. This paradoxical work discovers being in the absence of being, mystery in the absence of mystery, both to be searched for ...
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Overview

Before Sartre, before Beckett, before Robbe-Grillet, Maurice Blanchot created the new novel, the ultimate post-modern fiction. Written between 1932 and 1940, Blanchot's first novel, here brilliantly translated by Robert Lamberton, contains all the remarkable aspects of his famous and perplexing invention, the ontological narrative--a tale whose subject is the nature of being itself. This paradoxical work discovers being in the absence of being, mystery in the absence of mystery, both to be searched for limitlessly. As Blanchot launches this endless search in his own masterful way, he transforms the possibilities of the novel. First issued in English in 1973 in a limited edition, this re-issue includes an illuminating essay on translation by Lamberton.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Admirers of Kierkegaard, Sartre and Beckett will enjoy Blanchot's philosophical rumination on existence in the form of this odd novela tragic existential romance of sorts. Thomas and Anne meet at a country hotel and believe themselves to be in love. We learn nothing of their pasts, mutual or personal, or of their plans or hopes. Such superficialities as character development do not concern Blanchot. Instead, the narrative focuses on the neurotic pair's inner worlds, where every slight notion and observation of the outer world carries explicit philosophical implications. The mental processes play unbroken for pages like impassioned and cerebral jazz piano pieces: the ocean is the modern soul, creatures are ideas, cats talk in monologues and the greatest action is a nervous collapse. With this couple, Blanchot examines the extent to which we are separated from our fellow humans by our solipsistic natures. Insight and true high comedy reign throughout these suffering-soaked chapters, remarkably and elegantly translated by Lamberton. For those who dare, this new version of the first novel by the influential French writer, a mystifying and ingenious work, will not soon leave the memory. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882680767
  • Publisher: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/6/1995
  • Edition description: New version
  • Pages: 124
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Maurice Blanchot is one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in modern French writing. His work encompasses the writing of novels and r├ęcits as well as articles and books of philosophical (or to be precise anti-philosophical) criticism. He is one of the few significant theorists of literature of the last century to have worked outside a university context.

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