Unreal Nature

July 24, 2013

In Our Turn

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 6:17 am

This is from ‘In Blanchot’s Company’ (1996/97) found in the collection Multiple Arts by Jean-Luc Nancy (2006):

… With this perpetual risk and extreme fragility accompanying us both, and affirmed as such, Blanchot and I will have been fellow travelers and partners in conversation, necessarily so. Just as I was slowly discovering, while still in school,, literature’s vast riches (as the phrase goes), his was the voice that became interwoven with them, blurring the image and disrupting my attention. Though disorientated at first, I was later to find Blanchot the most familiar and strangest company of all, while also the most secret and hidden, because of the light cast by the singular obscurity that is his.

This company was familiar to me in that, already from Flaubert onward, literature had been worried about itself, as though it had no alternative but to be alone, and alone in turning aside from itself in disgust (it is worth recalling Flaubert’s fearsome confession, “literature as far as I’m concerned, is a dreadful pain, like a dildo stuck up my arse without me even being able to get off on it”), and yet strange in that, appropriately enough, the voice of absolute worry, alone just like any voice, had no alternative but to isolate itself even more, to turn aside and lose itself in its own infinite turmoil. And no one has the task of finding it again any more than they have the task of challenging it. But it restores to each one of us, strangely, the chance and duty of risking ourselves in our turn …

Amidst a world that is made up no longer (at least not immediately) of the violent contrast between fever and shame, but of cares [souci] that is itself uncertain of what it means and hesitates as to whether “literature” still has any sense, even the sense of casting suspicion upon itself, or whether sense does not now run somewhere else (but certainly not through religion, science, or philosophy), given that it always runs somewhere, even if it is against the flow, in its own absence, or furtively.

My most recent previous post from Nancy’s book is here.

-Julie

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