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Aesthetics of Negativity$
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William S. Allen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823269280

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823269280.001.0001

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Dead Transcendence

Dead Transcendence

Blanchot, Paulhan, Kafka

(p.93) 3 Dead Transcendence
Aesthetics of Negativity

William S. Allen

Fordham University Press

Blanchot’s first major essays, his reading of Paulhan and the introduction to his first collection, Faux pas, explore how literature exists as a thing that is both in the world and yet removed from it. This ambiguous status can be illuminated by showing that the relation of the writer to the work is articulated in terms of a mutual isolation. The autonomy of the literary work responds to the isolation of the writer, and vice versa, which reveals a far-reaching revision of the notion of transcendence. For the work of writing, as that which brings the autonomy of the work and of the writer together, bears a critique of any idea of transcendence while still bearing a metaphysical relation to the world. This position is then placed in contrast to Marion’s work on the icon, which highlights the specific notion of non-theological transcendence that is developed in Blanchot’s writings.

Keywords:   ambiguity, autonomy, theology, transcendence, writing

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