File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1999/blanchot.9903, message 21

Subject: MB: Re: inside, etc.
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 12:23:59 -0800

Dear Claire--

Interesting question--for whom does Blanchot write.... (A question I
extrapolate from your message.)  It's obviously one of the most difficult
kinds of questions, because to some extent it falsifies the issue by
assuming that writing addresses someone. Yet it's inescapable that we hear
it that way.  If you're a writer--I'm a poet, not an "academic" (a poet who
reads "everything")--you can't help reading Blanchot as writing somehow to
or into your process; he feeds it, he turns it back to itself, and he never
really takes you away from it, even though he complicates it immeasurably. 
Some "academic" discourse has the effect of discouraging that process--for
reasons which are rather mysterious, and certainly not a matter of one kind
of activity versus another. Perhaps it's a matter of how much is on the
line in a moment of discourse, how much is truly at stake.  In Blanchot one
rarely doubts that everything is at stake at every point, right down to his

Recently I edited _The Station Hill Blanchot Reader_ which contains most of
the books by Blanchot we published under "Station Hill" over the past two
decades.  For us it was immensely powerful to re-encounter an enormous
amount of his work for that occasion, and I had an impulse somewhat like
yours--to claim Blanchot for the art/literature side, because there is a
danger that he would not be read side by side with Melville or Blake or
Char or Mallarmé or the others he treated as "invisible partners," to
borrow a term Bident invokes over and over in his biographic essay.  So I
and my colleague Charles Stein wrote a piece as an afterword that
essentially looks at Blanchot from the perspective of (American) poetics,
raising the question of how Blanchot impacts "us"--meaning those of us who
took the issues of poetics/discourse to heart, and the consequent "stance
toward reality" (Charles Olson's term).  It offers one kind of "poet's
reading" which we felt addresses a way of reading Blanchot that rarely
shows up in formal writing (although some like Chris Fynsk we perceive as
near neighbors).  Anyway, I would be interested in your response to our
efforts in that direction, "Publishing Blanchot in America--A Metapoetic
View."  (If you don't have the book I'd be happy to e-mail the piece to you
or anyone else.)


PS: I visited StudioCleo--extraordinary, both the work exhibited and the
site itself.

George Quasha
Station Hill Press/Barrytown, Ltd.
 or The Institute for Publishing Arts, Inc.
Barrytown, NY 12507

> From: Claire Dinsmore <>
> To:
> Subject: MB: inside, etc.
> Date: Tuesday, March 09, 1999 1:04 AM
I'm curious:

Does anyone on this list ever question these (and other such) notions in
of creativity/the creator (artist/writer), instead of simply in academic
terms?  It seems to me the ACT of creation is Blanchot's chief
concern/obsession, not academic comparisons and distinctions. I'm not
to say anything negative about the list - this has simply to do with my own
interest in Blanchot.  I would very much like to hear any one else's ideas
his perception of the act and engage in a discussion of it's meaning - both
Blanchot's meaning, and those of other writers on this list.

the floor is open and I await ...


"We live in the dark.  We do what we can. We give what we have.
Our doubt is our passion.  Our passion is our task.  The rest of the
is art."
- Henry James


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