Levinas, Blanchot, Jabes: Figures of Estrangement by Gary D. Mole
By Gary D. Mole
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Extra info for Levinas, Blanchot, Jabes: Figures of Estrangement (Crosscurrents : Comparative Studies in European Literature and Philosophy)
17 The < previous page page_17 next page > < previous page page_18 next page > Page 18 Shoah as an absolute, the obligation to say this and no more, the inability indeed to affirm anything when the present has foundered these, as I argue in chapter 4, are key terms for Blanchot's and Jabès's writings on the concentration camp experience. The fact that Blanchot is so insistent in these fragments on the Shoah and its effects on writing points toward the importance that this experience takes on for Blanchot within the framework of the ''fragmentary writing" that he gradually develops.
Now, however, Blanchot comments, the rupture is marked not only by poetic fragmentation at its various levels, but by a second rupture: "in history and in the writing in the margins of history. In history where the center of the rupture is called Judaism" (B-Am, 252). This rupture that Blanchot calls Judaism he might also call it Lévinas's "other philosophy" is identified as both recent (the Shoah) and ancient (the original rupture with God, the movement into exile): "A rupture suffered in history, where the catastrophe still speaks and is always near, the infinite violence of pain: the rupture of violent power that has tried to make and mark an era.
Chapter 4 is slightly different in format from the previous three chapters. The book, in a sense, comes full circle by returning to the étranger, the Jew, and the question of anti-Semitism in the context of the concrete historical event in which Lévinas, Blanchot, and Jabès anchor their common preoccupations: Auschwitz. The opening section of the chapter, then, traces the individual relationship of each writer to the Shoah and some of the philo- < previous page page_21 next page > < previous page page_22 next page > Page 22 sophical, theoretical, and critical positions adopted.