Author: WANG Hai, Associate Professor at School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China
Separation is one of the keywords for understanding 20th century French thinker and writer Maurice Blanchot’s literary theory. For Blanchot, separation is a relation both close and remote, both connecting and separating, and it is both easily abused and untraversable. In his ontology of literature, he uses the concept of separation to characterize the relation between literary works and authors, readers, and the world, and between words and things. In his discussion of relations between the “I” and the Other, such as friendship, he explores Levinas’ philosophy of separation in order to illuminate this “relation without relation.” The paper argues that the notion of separation helps literature retain its autonomy before the world, history, Truth and Subject, and also allows literature to respond to the Other and at the same time leave room for the Other. The paper also argues that Blanchot builds a poetics of separation in a non-humanistic discourse, which is based on literature itself and also has ethical and political dimensions.
Maurice Blanchot, separation, the Other, the ontology of Literature, Levinas
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