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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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An Image of Thought in Thomas l’Obscur

An Image of Thought in Thomas l’Obscur

(p.114) 4 An Image of Thought in Thomas l’Obscur
Aesthetics of Negativity

William S. Allen

Fordham University Press

The most significant of Blanchot’s early works is his first novel, Thomas l’Obscur, which is examined in this chapter to show how it develops a very subtle but powerful critique of the Kantian sublime by indicating how the experience of literature disrupts the limits of thought, such that thought comes to experience the “outside” of its limits in its own dissolution. While such a transformation can be explicated by reference to the works of Deleuze and Nancy, it is in contrast to Blanchot’s peers, Bataille and Klossowski, that it is possible to come to a more thorough understanding of the bond of mutual repulsion that exists between the writer and the work that keeps them together even as they are pushed to ever greater extremes and deviations of language.

Keywords:   exteriority, repulsion, sublime, thought

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