Maurice Blanchot and the Literature of Transgression

Princeton University Press
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In this book, the first in English devoted exclusively to Maurice Blanchot, John Gregg examines the problematic interaction between the two forms of discourse, critical and fictional, that comprise this writer's hybrid oeuvre. The result is a lucid introduction to the thought of one of the most important figures on the French intellectual scene of the past half-century.

Gregg organizes his discussion around the notion of transgression, which Blanchot himself took over from Georges Bataille--most palpably in his interpretation of the myth of Orpheus--as a paradigm capable of accounting for the relationships that exist in the textual economies formed by author, work, and reader. Chapters on the critical work address such issues as Blanchot's ambivalent attitude toward the speculative dialectic of Hegelianism, his thematization of literature's involvement with death, and the mythical and Biblical figures he uses to portray the acts of reading and writing. Gregg also performs extended close readings of two representative works of fiction, Le Très-Haut and L'Attente l'oubli, in an effort to trace Blanchot's evolution as a creator of narratives and to ascertain how his fiction can be seen as constituting a mise en oeuvre of the concerns he treats in his criticism. The book concludes with an assessment of Blanchot's place in the recent history of French critical theory.

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About the author

John Gregg is Assistant Professor of French at Indiana University, Bloomington.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 21, 1994
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781400821273
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / European / French
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A systematic introduction into the mimetic theory of the French-American literary theorist and philosophical anthropologist René Girard, this essential text explains its three main pillars (mimetic desire, the scapegoat mechanism, and the Biblical “difference”) with the help of examples from literature and philosophy. This book also offers an overview of René Girard’s life and work, showing how much mimetic theory results from existential and spiritual insights into one’s own mimetic entanglements. Furthermore it examines the broader implications of Girard’s theories, from the mimetic aspect of sovereignty and wars to the relationship between the scapegoat mechanism and the question of capital punishment. Mimetic theory is placed within the context of current cultural and political debates like the relationship between religion and modernity, terrorism, the death penalty, and gender issues. Drawing textual examples from European literature (Cervantes, Shakespeare, Goethe, Kleist, Stendhal, Storm, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Proust) and philosophy (Plato, Camus, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, Vattimo), Palaver uses mimetic theory to explore the themes they present. A highly accessible book, this text is complemented by bibliographical references to Girard’s widespread work and secondary literature on mimetic theory and its applications, comprising a valuable bibliographical archive that provides the reader with an overview of the development and discussion of mimetic theory until the present day.
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