The Disavowed Community

The Disavowed Community

Jean-Luc Nancy

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780823273843

Publisher: Fordham University Press

Abstract

Over thirty years after Maurice Blanchot writes The Unavowable Community (1983)—a book that offered a critical response to an early essay by Jean-Luc Nancy on “the inoperative community”—Nancy responds in turn with The Disavowed Community (2014). Unfolding as a close reading of Blanchot’s text, Nancy’s essay addresses a range of themes and motifs that mark both his proximity to and distance from Blanchot’s thinking. These themes and motifs include: their respective readings of Georges Bataille, notably his political writings as well as his appeal to the “community of lovers”; pre- and post-war responses in France to fascism and communism; the relation between community, communitarianism, and being-in-common; the relation between the disenchantment with democracy and “aristocratic anarchism”; readings of Marguerite Duras’s récit, The Malady of Death; references to the Eucharist and Christianity; and a rethinking of politics and the political. In short, the exchange between Blanchot and Nancy opens up a rethinking of community that raises at once questions of affirmation and critique, of avowal and disavowal.