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The Imperative to Write
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The Imperative to Write: Destitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett

Jeff Fort


This book poses the question of an imperative to write as it was claimed, elaborated, and undergone by three of the twentieth century’s most philosophically informed writers, Franz Kafka, Maurice Blanchot, and Samuel Beckett. All three of these writers stress repeatedly and in multiple ways the hyperbolic and exclusive nature of the necessity to write, but the terms of this necessity waver between a groundless and categorical imperative that shadows Kant’s moral philosophy, and a sheer, unstoppable compulsion which at its extremes raises the specter of torture. The book shows that in each case ... More

Keywords: Kafka, Blanchot, Beckett, Kant, Heidegger, Lacoue-Labarthe, imperative to write, compulsion to write, sublime, destitution

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780823254699
Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014 DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823254699.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jeff Fort, author
University of California, Davis