19.5.13

Aaron Hillyer: The Disappearance of Literature

A new publication from Bloomsbury
Aaron Hillyer, The Disappearance of Literature: Blanchot, Agamben, and the Writers of the No
From Bloomsbury:
Aaron Hillyer considers the fate and implications of Maurice Blanchot's enigmatic formulation of literature's future: "Literature is heading to its essence, which is its disappearance." The Disappearance of Literature's primary theoretical objective is to highlight a previously neglected difference between Blanchot's and Agamben's philosophies. These philosophical and literary arguments proceed by examining a series of related concepts: study, sexuality, language, mysticism, and friendship. Despite the fact that Blanchot and Agamben often serve today as primary points of reference for literary theory, no significant critical work has yet examined their works in a sustained dialogue. Hillyer initiates this new trajectory of research through readings of Blanchot's The Unavowable Community and Agamben's The Open, which are followed by encounters with books by contemporary writers Vila-Matas, Aira, and Carson. The juxtaposition of these two different forms of writing (philosophy as literature and literature as philosophy) shows that the new kind of writing analyzed here holds both "literature" and "philosophy" at a certain distance from each other as well as from themselves. The primary means of this distantiation is the gesture of deactivation performed by the act of "study." The narrators and authors examined here often "study" both literature and philosophy in order to remove them from their perilous metaphysical foundations. In this way, Hillyer argues, the "study-novel" emerges as a basic paradigm of the disappearance of literature, a new category of literary creation marked by Agamben's dispute with Blanchot. [Read More]

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