File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1997/blanchot.9712, message 29

Subject: RE: MB:  The Writer and Place
Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997 14:38:20 -0700


Thanks for the very interesting question.  I can't really follow the
syntax of your long third sentence, but I think you're suggesting an
opposition between writing on "any level" and something else.  You cite
(me?) re "personal confrontations and demonstrations of ego," but I'm
not sure I understand what you mean.  Why, for example, should personal
attacks be considered "merely apparent utilities"?

I may not have expressed MYself clearly in my last post, but I think I
wrote that personal confrontations don't belong on the list.  I'll stand
by that sentiment, and I believe most of the people who subscribe to
this list will also.  Do I really need to go into the reasons for this?

About what you call "transliteration": you raise another question of how
ego intersects with syntax and with community, which I think is
interesting.  Here also, there are many ways to begin an answer.  I have
been an English teacher for nearly ten years and have spent some time
thinking about this, and would be happy to discuss it if you like.  But
I'm also happy to say that people talk like they talk;  if I can
understand them, great.  If not, who cares.

But there's something else, as you're well aware.  We talk to one
another out of a number of complicated needs, not the least of which
involves the power to impose our wills and ourselves on someone else.
This is generally what we mean by the word "expression."  I think the
kind of talk that we are trying for on this list involves a lot of good
faith -- the good faith to talk and the good faith to listen.  There's a
very important and precious balance, which, you're right, I suspect that
"transliteration" threatens.  

Just to take your post as an example: when you write:

. . . don't you also desire, on some level, (considering the "space" of
elements you might find it worth sacrificint its "literary" occupant in
the "name" of) to be free to write on any level, understanding that your
words would not be tied purely to merely apparent utilities (or
de(a)finitions of) such as "personal confrontations and demonstrations
of ego"?. . . 

You know as well as I do that what is expressed here is something you
could have run through a less tortured syntax.  What was the point of
your choice not to?  To "stretch" the logos?  To go where no man has
gone before?  You make a fairly simple and straightforward point here,
so why all the pyrotechnics?  One answer -- the bad faith one -- might
be that you want me and the other readers here to stop, go back, spend
more time puzzling over what you're doing to say what you could have
said in only a few words.  Somehow, this simple point has to be bigger
and its because You're the one making it.

Since I'm answering you at length here, I hope you'll believe that I'm
trying to work with the good-faith answer.  But you see what I mean:
there's always in every written exchange a very delicate balance between
ego and sentence structure.  The internet seems to me to invite a
certain kind of ego vaunting, because it is such a non-present presence.
 People talk to each other, flame each other, on the net in ways they
would never dare do if they were together in the same room.   I think we
can only really talk together on a list like this if we are clear up
front what we want to do: make good-faith exchanges about Blanchot or
decide whether me or Lucio has more right to talk about medieval

Anyway, thanks again for the response to my post,

Michael Harrawood, in the snow
Laramie, WY


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