File spoon-archives/blanchot.archive/blanchot_1999/blanchot.9903, message 75

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 12:29:14 -0500
Subject: Re: MB: Concepts

william flesch wrote:
> 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. 

	Lest my comments on "the concept" be misunderstood, let me second William Flesch and his support for Leslie Hill
(returned by same).  A question/observation, though ...  Take exteriority as a possible 'concept.'  For Hegel there is
an absolute symmetry between exteriority and interiority, and this symmetry is 'enforced' by the dialectic.  Neither is
privileged over the other, and neither can be separated from the other.
	For Blanchot, interiority and exteriority too are related -- perhaps, in an all-too-Hegelian manner' the light of day,'
dialectically so.  However, for Blanchot, exteriority is asymmetrical to interiority; it has a 'privilege,' even an
absolute privilege, and it is this that he underscores when he says 'pure exteriority,' or 'absolute exteriority' (more
a Levinasian turn of phrase).  This privileged exteriority is the one which, as Leslie notes, can never become an
inside, which is what every exteriority qua pendant of interiority *can* become. But, this pure exteriority or 'other
night' is not absolutely absolute, for it is contingent, so to speak, on the interior/exteriority to which it is
absolutely exterior.  And I think that Blanchot would say, much in the same way as Levinas might, that to understand the
interior leads one inexorably to pure exteriority, an exteriority exterior to exteriority.
	Might one not then say, without doing undue violence, that 'exteriority' entails both the 'concept' of
exteriority-qua-alterity-of-interiority as well as that which exceeds this, namely, 'pure exteriority'?  If there are
such 'logical entailments', then perhaps it's not so much a matter of exteriority not being a concept but of seeing
conceptuality 'working' or 'functioning' (from a Hegelian point of view) in an unprecedented way.  Of course, for Hegel,
such concepts wouldn't be functional but dys- or non-functional, which would be just fine, I think!



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