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Dying is not Death: The Difference between Blanchot’s Fiction and Hegel’s

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2017, 03:56 by James Phillips
With “Literature and the Right to Death” (1948), Blanchot makes his most sustained contribution to the debate initiated in France by Kojève and Hippolyte concerning Hegel’s philosophy. At times Blanchot’s reading is
forced and idiosyncratic. Yet this reading has another motivation than the succinct and faithful paraphrase of the earlier thinker. Arguably Blanchot positions himself within Hegel’s terminology in order to rethink the sense of
the expression “the philosophy of art.” What is with Hegel an objective genitive becomes a subjective genitive. The rules therefore change. Whereas Hegel offers in his lectures on aesthetics an expatiation on art fixed under the gaze of philosophy, Blanchot installs art as the subject and submits the conventions and expectations of philosophical discourse to its procedures. In the light of this reversal, what might otherwise be judged a deviation or a lapse with respect to the genre of the philosophical essay can be seen to play its role in Blanchot’s reassessment of the relations between metaphysics and literature.


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