The Worklessness of Literature: Blanchot, Hegel, and the Ambiguity of the Poetic Word

Philosophy Today 50 (Supplement):39-47 (2006)
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Abstract

Although there is much scholarship on Maurice Blanchot’s relationship to his contemporaries on the French intellectual scene, substantially less has been made of his debts to the German philosophical heritage in general, and to G. W. F. Hegel in particular. In this article, the author maintains that Blanchot’s association of literature with worklessness comprises a direct, if somewhat tacit, refusal of Hegel’s determination of art as a work of spirit. The author argues that Blanchot’s critical relation to Hegel sheds new light not only on Blanchot’s conception of literature and related themes of language, but also on his view of the significance of literature as a powerful and elusive force of resistance to hegemonic and ideological programs of many kinds.

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Theodore George
Texas A&M University

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