Journal Article

A Book About Nothing: The Poetics of the <i>Roman Blanc</i><sup>1</sup>

Sami Sjöberg

in Literature and Theology

Volume 25, issue 2, pages 185-198
Published in print June 2011 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online April 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frr006
A Book About Nothing: The Poetics of the Roman Blanc1

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The article studies the roman blanc, the empty novel, as the culmination of antirationalism in the 20th-century avant-garde. The authors were familiar with the philosophical trends of their age, which they appropriated antinomistically. Rather than taking for granted the correspondence of language and experience, the avant-gardists sought to highlight the independent functioning of language by turning towards irrationality, obscurity and ineffability. These themes emerged from medieval mysticism (Kabbalah), a source of influence for the avant-gardists. The blank book ‘La loi des purs’ by Isidore Isou charts both the praxis of language and what exceeds representation. The obscurity of the book evokes a poetics with a twofold relation to the inherent negativity of the empty novel. This relation is in the article further developed into two discrepant poetic approaches.

Journal Article.  6575 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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