Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot's Rewriting of Levinas

in The Figural Jew

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780226315119
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226315133 | DOI:
Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot's Rewriting of Levinas

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This chapter considers Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas in dialogue to reveal a theory of the trope. It argues that Blanchot approaches Levinas's account of ethics and Judaism with a concern for the function of uprootedness not only in literature but also in politics. Although Blanchot consistently declared allegiance to Levinas and rarely criticized his philosophy, the chapter suggests that his conception of literature nevertheless leads to a subtle critique of Levinas. In particular, Blanchot disagrees with Levinas's frequent claim that Judaism will provide the way forward for a new universalizing humanism. As a result, Blanchot radicalizes the notion of deracination and, thus, the figural Jew. Consequently, the chapter claims that being Jewish comes to represent an exigency which calls into question allegiances of any sort.

Keywords: Maurice Blanchot; Emmanuel Levinas; ethics; Judaism; uprootedness; literature; politics; humanism; deracination; figural Jew

Chapter.  17042 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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