The Exigency of a Question: »How can we, in our time, render literature possible?«
A Reading of Maurice Blanchot’s Infinite Conversation
Massia, July, 9-15 2018
proposed by Toni Hildebrandt and Alexandra Logvinova
His question is “How is literature possible?” Not: “What is literature?”… the time of literature is for Blanchot a reprieve… something like a peculiar pause in death, which arrests that same death and makes it interminable… Blanchot places literature in the very impossibility of dying…. Did Blanchot do right? Did he have the right to do what he did? Did Auschwitz not render unusable the very concept of death in death? – This is another question. I think that these are questions which should be asked by the following generations, that the following generations are going to ask when they will be faced with the decisive question: “How can we, in our time, render literature possible”? – Giorgio Agamben
Maurice Blanchot’s L’Entretien infini, published in 1969, is a mesmerizing book full of astonishing insights into the possibility of reading and writing, as well as the relation of philosophy to literature and poetry. While his work had its subliminal influence on most of the postmodern authors, Blanchot seems to be very much out of time now. In a re-reading of his work, we wish to go back to his question and ask again, how we could render literature possible in the exigencies ofnow.
In one week we will surely not be able to read the entire 640 pages of the volume. We will therefore select from the English translation (The Infinite Conversation, trans. Susan Hanson, 1992) those chapters who clarify two crucial concepts in Blanchot’s work: the neutral and exigency, as conclude with a discussion of his idea of the absence of the book, which is the last chapter of the book.
The reading will be based on the following editions:
– M. Blanchot, L’Entretien infini (Paris: Gallimard,1969).
– M. Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation, trans. Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1992).
Please get in contact with us in advance, we look very much forward meeting you in Massia!
Toni Hildebrandt lives in Berne and teaches at the University of Berne, the University of the Arts in Berne and the “Maumaus” Independent Study Programme in Lisbon, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alexandra Logvinova lives in Berlin and studies in the MA World literature at University of Berne. She also works for the independent Lohvinau publishing house based in Minsk, email@example.com.
We will read from Maurice Blanchot’s Infinite Conversation twice a day, in the morning and evening/night, no longer then 3 hours. Please contact us to receive the reading material and also if you have any suggestion how to improve our proposal.
The workshop will be free (besides the accommodation and meals expenses).
Accommodation: 9€ per night (10€ if under 5 nights) plus a 12€ 1-year Massia membership.
Teaching fee: none
Make reservations by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org