Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blanchot in Journal des Débats 1941-1944

A review of the latest Blanchot due to be published (in French) next month:
There is however no rhetorical posturing in Blanchot, nothing even that could signal that exclusive and rather outmoded cult of "art for art’s sake." If, like Valéry’s Monsieur Teste (about which one of the most brilliant readings ever offered can be found in this collection), Blanchot is more fascinated by the workings of the mind than by its results, he is not one of those Neo-Parnassians who live idly remote from the preoccupations of the city. For him as for Sartre, although in a very different way, literature can only be a matter of "communication," yet in the noblest and strictest sense of the word. Every work forms with its audience a dialectic relationship where the distinction between essential and non-essential is never simple. The presence in this collection of a large number of texts which are actually "book reviews" in the strictest sense in that they comment on the recent publications of novels that were not necessarily destined to be epoch-making (and in fact were not) bears witness to this.

How opposite from Philip Roth's latest! (recently finished, I plan to give away).

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