Unreal Nature

January 10, 2016

The Substance of a Mark

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:46 am

… Everywhere that there is a system of relations that arranges, a memory that transmits …

This is from the essay ‘The Absence of the Book’ in The Gaze of Orpheus and other essays by Maurice Blanchot, translated by Lydia Davis (1981):

… The book (the civilization of the book) declares there is a memory that transmits things, there is a system of relations that arranges things; time becomes entangled in the book, where the void still belongs to a structure. But the absence of the book is not based on writing that leaves a mark and determines a directed movement, whether this movement develops linearly from a beginning toward an end, or is deployed from a center toward the surface of a sphere.

[line break added] The absence of the book makes an appeal to writing that does not commit itself, that does not settle out, is not satisfied with disavowing itself, nor with going back over its tracks to erase them.

What summons us to write when the time of the book determined by the beginning-end relation, and the space of the book determined by deployment from a center, cease to impose themselves? The attraction of (pure) exteriority.

The time of the book, determined by the beginning-end (past-future) relation based on a presence. The space of the book determined by deployment from a center, itself conceived as the search for a source.

Everywhere that there is a system of relations that arranges, a memory that transmits, everywhere that writing gathers in the substance of a mark that reading regards in the light of a meaning (tracing it back to an origin whose sign it is), when emptiness itself belongs to a structure and allows itself to be adjusted, then there is the book: the law of the book.

-Julie

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