In His Voice: Maurice Blanchot's Affair with the Neuter

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SUNY Press, Mar 1, 2016 - Philosophy - 180 pages
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 A creative study of Maurice Blanchot’s theory of literary voice.


In His Voice considers the idea of the neuter in Maurice Blanchot’s work, and seeks to work out through an exercise of literary impersonation, or ventriloquism, how and why Blanchot relied on this form. Neither active nor passive, the neuter expresses a kind of third voice beyond the command of the author, one that speaks paradoxically of what lies outside of speaking but nonetheless exerts an irrepressible influence on thought. The neuter is exilic, messianic, and fragmentary. Since it cannot be directly accounted for, Blanchot uses a number of indirect approaches—notably, myth—to announce the key elements of his view. Orpheus, Odysseus, and principally Narcissus figure his conception and elaborate the operation of giving voice. Through a distillation of Blanchot’s narrative and critical texts—focusing on the late works, The Step Not Beyond, and The Writing of the Disaster—and through an emphasis on performance, In His Voice enacts the event of writing in search of how author’s inscriptive reality appears in the world.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Narcissus
3
2 The Mirror
31
3 Death as Instance
55
4 Echo
83
5 Voice Eo Ipso
109
Conclusion
137
Notes
141
Selected Bibliography
161
Index
163
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

 David Appelbaum is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He is the author of several books, including A Propos, Levinas; Jacques Derrida’s Ghost: A Conjuration; and The Delay of the Heart, all published by SUNY Press.

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