File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1999/blanchot.9903, message 68

Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 10:25:47 -0400
Subject: Re: MB: Concepts

>I' m interested why Leslie does not think words such like neuter,
>outside, or disaster are not concepts.  Is this because we have certain
>concepts about concepts that would not permit these words to belong to
>conceptualisation?  I feel there is something right about what Leslie
>says, and yet at the same time I worry that if we give up the concept of
>concepts altogether that we are left with silence and mysticism.  But
>perhaps this is a false opposition of conceptual thought itself?

Maybe a quick answer to this, in support of Leslie Hill's post, is that the
concept carries heavy Hegelian baggage (Begriffe), where it means having a
_grasp_ on something.  For Blanchot it would be the grasp, the prehensile
hand of L'espace litteraire which is opposed to (for short) writing.
Whatever you have a grasp on for Blanchot is not otherness, neutraility,
etc., but what Derrida would call their parody or satire.
Concept=grasp=mastery.  Blanchot instead writes of obsession, which comes
to proximity and the infinitely light touch--the _tact_--that the other
requires not to be destroyed in assimilation, subjection and mastery.  I
acknowledge that these formulations here are far too crude, and far too
crudely political, but they may have heuristic value.  Perhaps in a
nutshell: thinking and conceptualization are opposed in Blanchot: "quand on
commence a penser, pas de repos."  I think that this is the heart of all
his fiction, which I also feel called upon to register here seems to me one
of the great achievements of 20th century writing, up there, I will not
hesitate to claim, with Proust, Chehhov and Kafka.

William Flesch


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