Maurice Blanchot, – Novelist and critic Maurice Blanchot was born in Some of his works in translation include “Death Sentence” (), “The Gaze of. Writing about The Gaze of Orpheus, Geoffrey Hartman suggested that When we translated and well-chosen excerpts from Blanchot’s many influential books. , English, French, Book edition: The gaze of Orpheus, and other literary essays / by Maurice Blanchot ; pref. by Geoffrey Hartman ; translated by Lydia Davis.

Author: Tygotaxe Maular
Country: Madagascar
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Art
Published (Last): 15 May 2004
Pages: 246
PDF File Size: 14.22 Mb
ePub File Size: 3.87 Mb
ISBN: 184-5-69604-956-1
Downloads: 64851
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Mazurisar

Britain’s first blsnchot blogger Nov ” Perhaps the best resource in English on European modernist literature ” — Irish Times Now a major motion picture My book wishlist. Please do not think this is anything other than an interested question, but do you write prose or poetry or work in any other art forms?

Jason, I can’t help but think of it as more than an interested question! But, yes, I do write in an other form not poetry. Never tried to have it published though cos it’s crap. Thanks for the response. I sort of enjoy reading your blog, but it’s so curiously intellectual, and I wondered how much personal experience of creativity you might have, and how you came to be writing in this manner.

You don’t really have any biographical data available. How did I come to write in this manner? I follow my heart. How can one tell which it is? Maybe that’s why this blog is “so curiously intellectual” because it doesn’t see a simple opposition between the two. The ruinous gaze is the step into this tiny place? On reflection, it’s that this blog brings to mind somebody writing about something, for example, cars, in depth, but without having any true understanding of how cars are made, or what their purpose is.

And that’s why there’s so much intellectual labour required, to fill that void, because your thoughts, truth be told, are being formed without empirical knowledge of what it means to possess genuine creative powers.

This Space: Modernist vs genre fiction: Blanchot and the myth of Orpheus

I saw the exact same thing in professors at art school. So what’s here is a substitute, another means of being engaged in art, but without being an artist. It’s okay, it gives you a means to talk about art, which you clearly love, and to exercise your intellect, which is in good working order.

But beyond that, oepheus not much here. That’s why artists never concern themselves with this kind of writing, just as a top chef doesn’t believe food critics know what they’re talking about. I still enjoy reading what you say, for its novelty, for the thought of you sitting there and preparing it, deciding what bits to leave in, where to make a little joke, who to quote, and so on.


It’s an haze, of sorts, it reminds me of going oprheus school each morning, wondering how much the water cress had grown since the day before. Is that something you do very often? So all those artists and novelists influenced by Blanchot don’t count? And is one an artist only if one is published? I can imagine Max Brod condescending to his friend about knowledge of the creative process The word ‘gobshite’, existing in close proximity to Jason comes to mind, Stephen.

Saturday, March 17, Modernist vs genre fiction: Blanchot and the myth of Orpheus. Less than a week before Orpgeus Josipovici gave his talk in London, the novelist Hilary Mantel gave a lecture called Orpheus Speaks ahead of a production of Monteverdi’s opera, Orfeo. Mantel said she thought it was a profound myth about art itself but her talk would also be about how the myth affects us in our everyday life.

I want to talk about mourning, memory and the work of salvage, from the point of view of a writer who is deeply concerned both with retrieval of the personal past and with the work of bringing history ‘back to life’.

It is a universal human impulse to try to retrieve what is lost, to want to go back into the past and change it. But we create underworlds in our own lives, by the keeping of secrets and by consigning parts of our experience to the realm of the forgotten. Few of the examples in Mantel’s talk were revealed in advance but one was the story of Natascha Kampusch, which has also inspired Peter Handke recently.

It is here that Josipovici’s concluding question about the nature of our artistic freedom – whether the impulse to retrieve what is gone is pathological or whether it enables us to enter realms previously denied by deadening genre – takes the form of a dynamic paradox. Blanchot begins with the simple fact that art allows a certain retrieval, what he calls “the harmony and accord of the first night”. This we might characterise as the straightforward evocation of that which is lost.

Orpheus, however, wants more. He wants Eurydice in orpheu “nocturnal obscurity, in her distance For Orpheus, “Eurydice is the furthest that art can reach. The problem is that, despite being a supreme artist, Orpheus is not allowed to look at blwnchot essence of night.

Eurydice is condemned to remain in the shade. When he turns towards her, he ruins his work. The gaze is the turn from the solidity of genre to the liquidity of freedom.

All the glory of his work, all the power of his art, and even the desire for a happy life in the lovely, clear light of day are sacrificed to this sole aim: This is why literary modernism so often concerns itself with failure, with desire for what is beyond art, sacrificing an easy omniscience for uncertainty and subjectivity.


Not out of hatred for the world but out of respect. For conservatives, orpheuss with the daytime gifts of art, condemn Orpheus’ gaze as a form of madness, of vanity, at least of impatience. We read such criticism and contempt almost every day.

Yet Blanchot says the ruining gaze is necessary to the work. To look at Eurydice, without regard to the song, in the faze and imprudence of desire which forgets the law: In order for the work to live, it must renounce the guarantee of daytime success and instead forget the rules: Had [Orpheus] not looked at her, he would not have drawn her toward him; and doubtless irpheus is not there, but in this glance back he himself is absent.

He is no less dead than she – dead, not of that tranquil worldly death which is rest, silence, and end, but of that other death which is death without end, the ordeal of the end’s absence. The artist, by embracing failure, is still condemned to eternal separation from what inspired the work. And to protect itself, the work demands the refusal of the ruining gaze even though that is its origin. How familiar is this experience for the artist: That betrayal is founded upon turning away from the work’s origin.

The Gaze of Orpheus and Other Literary Essays

Before the most convincing masterpiece, where the brilliance and resolution of the beginning shine, it can also happen that we confront something extinguished. But this is inevitable. To write, one must be impatient, but “impatience must be the core of profound patience”; “To write, one has to write already.

And like Blanchot’s essay, it is not itself art. At least, it isn’t our notion of art. It merely enables a sharper awareness of where the art we might need might be. But the same could be said for the myth of Orpheus. It is not Orpheus’ song. We don’t hear the beautiful sound of his voice lamenting Eurydice’s absence. The myth is a story about song, a story about stories.

In this way, it is a very modernist myth. BlanchotHandkeJosipovici. Newer Post Older Post Home. Contact Please email me at steve dot mitchelmore at gmail dot com. Subscribe to This Space Posts Atom.

Contact steve dot mitchelmore at gmail.

Author: admin