Thursday, December 16, 2004


He remembered the first steps, the first warnings, the first unforeseeable signs of friendship, the first temptations that he hardly noticed. "Where did you leave them? What are they looking for? What are you looking for? No search, and the room--with the tables placed end to end--freed him from the desire to find anything. "The name that would fit...the book that has been opened...the streets where they walk..." It was a murmur, the deceitful entreaty. And all of a sudden: reflect. "I have reflected that we love the places in which something has happened."--"You mean, things that one could tell about, could remember."--We're not that demanding: something."--"Something that would reduce or enhance the feeling of boredom."--"We're not bored."--We're not capable of it."


The question he did not ask him. "What would you do if you were alone?"--Well, the question wouldn't be asked."--"You mean there'd be no one to ask it."--"And no one to answer it."--"There'd be no time for that."
(Blanchot, Le Pas au-dela).

I don't have a copy of the original French, but the above translation by Lycette Nelson (the only one) seems often to lack the sensitivity of, say, Ann Smock or Lydia Davis.

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