Maurice Blanchot



Blanchot Resource Page


“Writing is a fearful spiritual weapon that negates the naive existence of what it names and must therefore do the same to itself. Literature runs the danger of denying its own desire for presence, although it cannot become anything else, philosophy for example. Hence writing is a self-disturbed activity: it knows itself to be, at once, trivial and apocalyptic, vain yet of the greatest consciousness-altering potential.”

“It seems comical and miserable that in order to manifest itself, dread, which opens and closes the sky, needs the activity of a writer sitting at their table and forming letters on a piece of paper.”

These pages can end here, and nothing that follows what I have just written will make me add anything to it or take anything away from it. This remains, this will remain until the very end. Whoever would obliterate it from me, in exchange for that end which I am searching for in vain, would himself become the beginning of my own story, and he would be my victim. In darkness, he would see me: my word would be his silence, and he would think he was holding sway over the world, but that sovereignity would still be mine, his nothingness mine, and he too would know that there is no end for a man who wants to end alone.

This should therefore be impressed upon anyone who might read these pages thinking they are infused with the thought of unhappiness. And what is more, let him try to imagine the hand that is writing them: if he saw it, then perhaps reading would become a serious task for him.”
(Death Sentence)


Select Bibliography

  • Death Sentence. Trans. Lydia Davis. Station Hill, 1978.
  • The Gaze of Orpheus. Trans. Lydia Davis. Station Hill, 1981.
  • Madness of the Day. Trans. Lydia Davis. Station Hill, 1988.
  • “Michel Foucault as I Imagine Him,” In Foucault - Blanchot. Trans. Jeffrey Mehlman. Zone Books, 1987.
  • The One Who Was Standing Apart From Me. Trans. Lydia Davis. Station Hill, 1993.
  • The Step Not Beyond. Trans. Lycette Nelson. SUNY Press, 1992.
  • Thomas the Obscure. Trans. Robert Lamberton. Station Hill, 1988.
  • The Unavowable Community. Trans. Pierre Joris. Station Hill, 1988.
  • When the Time Comes. Trans. Lydia Davis. Station Hill, 1985.