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Appropriation and Authority in Maurice Blanchot

Lecturer: Emily Finlay

Originally Taught: Summer School 2015

6-8pm | 5 Mondays starting 19 Jan (no class on Jan 26 for the Australia Day holiday)

This course will examine Blanchot's appropriation of elements of Heidegger, Hegel, Kojéve, Husserl and Levinas, and attempt to trace occasions of philosophical influence, commentary, criticism and rewriting throughout Blanchot's theoretical oeuvre. The lectures will explore how, through this process, Blanchot develops a theory of writing as appropriation—which he then furthers through engagement with writers like Mallarmé, Lautréamont, Sade, Rilke, Kafka and Hölderlin.

These lectures will analyse a range of modes of philosophical and literary influence—from misappropriation to the cultivation of the inappropriate for political purposes—in order to suggest that appropriation of otherness is itself an ethical imperative, forming grounds for empathy and responsibility in human relationships.

Particular focus will be given to the Work of Fire, The Space of Literature and The Infinite Conversation throughout the course. Individual lectures will also refer to Blanchot’s récits, The Last Man and Awaiting Oblivion, and to his The Most High (see course schedule for details).

This course is recommended for anyone wishing to engage with the notoriously dense yet masterful work of Blanchot, as well as those looking to ascertain the reception of German philosophy and literature in twentieth century France, and their subsequent development within French theories.

Course Schedule
Lecture 1: Introduction: Writing as appropriation
Lecture 2: Totalities: Blanchot, Hegel, Bataille, Kojève, Flaubert and Sade (and Blanchot’s The Most High)
Lecture 3: Phenomenology: Blanchot, Husserl and Mallarmé (and Blanchot’s The Last Man)
Lecture 4: Metamorphoses: Blanchot, Heidegger, Kafka and Lautréamont
Lecture 5: Infinities: Blanchot, Levinas and Rilke (and Blanchot’s Awaiting Oblivion)