4.3.12

Lars Iyer on Blanchot's Vigilance

Philosophical essay available on Spurious
In a 2005 article originally published in Parallax, Lars Iyer summarises his book on Maurice Blanchot, Blanchot's Vigilance: Literature, Phenomenology and the Ethical:
'For Blanchot, like the early Levinas, the world of things is a dead world, but it is one that is not inert. It is a dead world, but one possessed of a strange kind of life – a dying that is active, a force of becoming that is the experience of the being of things. How can being be brought together with becoming? The difference between beings and being, as Levinas and Blanchot will present it, is given in the relation between the thing and its image. As readers will know, for Levinas and Blanchot it as though, for them, the image was the condition of possibility of the thing and not the other way round. Broadly speaking, the image is what gives itself in the relation to the thing when it is turned from the tasks and projects to which we subordinate it, resisting the very impulse of our existence to create meaning, to, as it were, ‘exist’ things by bringing them towards us as potential tools or as potential raw material. It gives itself as what ‘in’ the thing exists over and above our interests. But even as it does so, its resistance captures my attention and struggles with it, escaping me even as it seems to offer itself to me. Yet I am not indifferent to it, and this is the point. The image of the thing no longer exists at any distance from me at all; fascinated, I am as though pressed by the thing against its image, as though the heart of the thing held me at what one commentator calls ‘its distance’.' [Read More]
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