The Imperative to Write: Destitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett (BOK)

Jeff Fort

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Is writing haunted by a categorical imperative? Does the Kantian sublime continue to shape the writer's vocation, even in twentieth century authors who seem far removed from the grand rewards of Reason and the purity of the Supersensible? And what precise shape, form or figure does this residue of sublimity take in the fictions that follow from it - and that leave it in ruins? The Imperative to Write explores these questions through readings of three authors who bear stark witness to an ambiguous exigency: writing as a demanding and exclusive task, at odds with life itself, but also as mere compulsion, a drive without end or reason, even a kind of torture. If Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett mimic a "sublime vocation" in their extreme devotion to writing, they do so in full awareness that the trajectory it dictates leads not to metaphysical redemption but rather downward, into the uncanny element of fiction: literary space as an infernal other-world of unmoored language, errant image, and endless speech. As this book argues, the sublime has always been a deeply melancholy affair, even in its classical Kantian form, but it is in the attenuated speech of narrative voices progressively stripped of their resources and rewards that the true nature of this melancholy is revealed in extremis. By tracing out the degradations and destitutions of these fictive works - from Kafka's judged, tortured and starving characters, through Blanchot's endlessly dying women and eternally returning revenantes, to Beckett's abject tramps harassed by the fact of having been - this study seeks to show the haunting face of a failed sublimity. Whether this face is that of a corpse, or of a woman rendered into the ghostly image of a death mask, these figural leftovers reveal how even the most stipped down fictions are imprinted with the schematic remains of the life they leave behind. Drawing on the thought of Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and of Jean-Luc Nancy, as well as Heidegger and Freud, this book provides nuanced and textured readings of authors who set out to destitute the treasure that literature has always promised to deliver, but whose texts leave open - and empty - the slim margin of an enigma that demands to be read.


Språk Engelsk Engelsk Innbinding Innbundet
Utgitt 2014 Forfatter Jeff Fort
Marston Book DMARSTO Orphans
ISBN 9780823254699
Antall sider 496 Dimensjoner 16,3cm x 23,4cm x 4,1cm
Vekt 748 gram Leverandør Bertram Trading Ltd
Emner og form Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: from c 1900 -

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