File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1997/blanchot.9712, message 14

Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 09:41:59 -0500
Subject: MB: RE: Writing and Place

This message bounced and I'm forwarding it for Michael.

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 20:16:53 -0700
From: "Michael S. Harrawood" <MichaelH-AT-UWyo.Edu>
To: "'blanchot-AT-jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU'"
Subject: RE: MB: The Writer and Place


I found your post on topos and Blanchot very interesting, and think also that
the literary tradition Blanchot is working with also meditates in a powerful way
on the relation of writer to the kind of place you're
interested in.

I've always thought that the famous lines Dante uses to open his Comedia:

mi ritrouvai per una selva oscura

I found myself (again) in a dark wood

suggests through a series of puns on "trovere" the placing of the writer as a
topos. The puns work through the spatializing of the greek "poenin," "making"
into the latin "inventione," "finding" or discovery. The word Dante uses to say
he "finds" himself is one that had great currency in the langue d'oc and langue
d'oil to name the poets and sonneteers he was building on: (Troveres, Troubadors
-- poets, but,
literally "finders").   The problem that opens the Comedia seems to be one of
self-poeting or self-making that would somehow engage the sense of semantic
space you are interested in.  He seems to be interested in
the self-positing or -positioning of the author as a semantic space, or as a
sign.  Way later in the Comedia, Adam will tell Dante that it was not because of
an apple that mankind falls, but rather for what he calls
"the trespass of the sign" "il trepassar del segno."   The issue seems to be one
of contention over the process of assigning and interpreting meaning, or of
creating oneself as the right kind of topos.

I hope this isn't too long or dull.  I mention it not to suggest that Blanchot
was into Dante trivia, but rather to suggest that the literary "space" Blanchot
inherits is one that our tradition has been engaged
with for a while.  (Milton's Satan is another example that comes to mind).

Does it seem to you, Reg, or to anybody out there, that Blanchot runs this issue
of space through a phenomenological (let's say Heideggerian) notion of time in
order to generate a new sense of literature's and
language's possibilities.

Eric et tout le monde -- je vous demande pardon mille fois de ne pas avoir ecrit
en French.  Mais, vraiment, je l'ai appris dans les tres salles coins et je le
parle comme une pubelle.  Si vous voulais, je peux
vous fair une traduction privee -- mais pardon ma honte de m'exposee pour un con
sur la voie publique.

Michael Harrawood
Laramie, WY


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