Desperate Clarity: Chronicles of Intellectual Life, 1942 (Paperback)
These articles gradually outline a practical project that both looks back to the radical artistic doctrines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and anticipates the most original developments in the postwar era, among writers such as Robbe-Grillet, Butor, Sarraute, and Duras, not to mention Blanchot himself. In addition Blanchot is receptive in his weekly column to the extraordinarily wide range of original writing and thinking that was produced during the dark years of occupation, in areas such as psychology, anthropology, ancient history, linguistics, and philosophy. A highly original doctrine of writing can be seen to develop in which, thanks to the desperate clarity with which Blanchot's mind accepts and advances into what he sees as absolute and irrevocable disaster, thought is carefully and systematically deflected away from any sort of nihilism, thanks to a new relationship between reason, with its unitary subject, and the otherness to which imagination offers access.
About the Author
Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003), writer, critic, and journalist, was one of the most important voices in twentieth-century literature and thought. Michael Holland is a Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford where he teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature. He is the author of the Blanchot Reader and of numerous studies of Blanchot's work in both English and French.