Voidance: Linguistic Negativism in Maurice Blanchot's Fiction

Weller, Shane (2015) Voidance: Linguistic Negativism in Maurice Blanchot's Fiction. French Studies, 69 (1). pp. 30-45. ISSN 0016-1128. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/fs/knu232) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1093/fs/knu232

Abstract

This article charts the shifting patterns of linguistic negativism in Maurice Blanchot’s fiction, from his early works of the mid-1930s, through the novels of the 1940s, to the major récits from 'L’Arrêt de mort' (1948) to 'L’Instant de ma mort' (1994). Particular attention is paid to Blanchot’s deployment of negative affixes and negative modifiers. This stylistic analysis provides the groundwork for my exploration of the ‘voidance’ of the semantic in Blanchot’s fiction, achieved through an epanorthotic retraction of the said that becomes ever more prevalent, reaching its most extreme form in 'L’Attente, l’oubli' (1962). This voidance serves as a form of resistance to semantic hypostatization and reification, but at the risk of an evacuation of sense. Through a charting of these patterns of linguistic negativism, and an appreciation of their function as a form of voidance, it becomes possible to detect a trajectory away from a prose that recalls Mallarmé, through one that recalls Kafka, to one akin to Beckett’s. Analysing this trajectory, this article aims to situate Blanchot’s writing of the negative within a broader, language-sceptical tradition that achieves its literary flowering in European late modernism.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Comparative Literature
Depositing User: Fiona Godfrey
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2015 08:57 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 15:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48991 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Weller, Shane: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9468-4930
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