Levinas, Literature, and Philosophy

Seán Hand

in The Oxford Handbook of Levinas

ISBN: 9780190455934
Published online January 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190455941 | DOI:
Levinas, Literature, and Philosophy

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This chapter explores posthumously published poems and fragments of novels by Levinas. It shows how seriously Levinas considered abandoning philosophy at a key moment in favor of writing novels. It examines how this calls into question some of Levinas’s positions regarding literature in the postwar period. It looks at how the thematics of his artistic plans conflict with ethical postulations in his major works. It traces relations between these plans and the work of key influential writers like Blanchot. It considers how these novelististic experiments recast Levinas’s essays on aesthetics. And it reflects on how knowledge of this work by Levinas must now inform our appreciation of his philosophical publications.

Keywords: Levinas; ethics; philosophy; literature; poetry; war; eros; obsession; reading; plurigraphy

Article.  9326 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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