By Allan Stoekl

ISBN-10: 0816612994

ISBN-13: 9780816612994

ISBN-10: 0816613001

ISBN-13: 9780816613007

5 twentieth-century French writers performed, and proceed to play, a pivotal position within the improvement of literary-philosophical pondering that has end up identified within the usa as post-structuralism. The paintings of Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, Raymond Roussel, Michel Leiris, and Francis Ponge within the Nineteen Thirties and Forties quantities to a prehistory of trendy theoretical debates; the writings of Foucault and Derrida particularly might were unthinkable outdoors the context supplied by means of those writers. In Politics, Writing, Mutilation,Allan Stoekl emphasizes their position as precursors, yet he additionally makes transparent that they created a particular physique of labor that has to be learn and evaluated by itself terms.

Stoekl's severe readings in their work—selected novels, poems, and autobiographical fragments—reveal them to be battlegrounds not just of disruptive language practices, yet of conflicting political drives to boot. those irreconcilable developments could be outlined as revolutionary political revolution, at the one hand with its emphasis on application, conservation, and hard work; and, nonetheless, a inspiration of harmful and sinister creation that stresses orgiastic sexuality and delirious expenditure. stuck among those forces is the highbrow of Bataille's time (and certainly of ours), locked in impotence, self-betrayal, and automutilation.

Stoekl develops his critique via twin readings of every writer's principal work—the first analyzing deconstructive, the second one a look for the political that means excluded by means of a deconstructive procedure. Repeating this procedure on a bigger scale, he indicates how Derrida and Foucault are indebted to their precursors even whereas they've got betrayed them through stripping their paintings of political clash and ancient specificity. And he recognizes that probably the most painful questions confronted in prewar and Occupied France—that of the unthinkable guilt and duplicity of the intellectual—may no longer be as distant from modern theoretical matters as a few may have us think.

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Extra info for Politics, Writing, Mutilation: The Cases of Bataille, Blanchot, Roussel, Leiris, and Ponge

Example text

Si je n'avais, d'un coup de pied, arrete ce glissement, nous serions tombes dans la nuit, et j'aurais pu croire, emerveille, que nous tombions dans le vide du ciel. (481-82; 143-45) At one turning in the path, an empty space opened beneath us. Curiously, this empty space, at our feet, was no less infinite than a starry sky over our heads. Flickering in the wind, a multitude of little lights was filling the night with silent, indecipherable celebration. Those stars—those candles—were flaming by the hundred on the ground: ground where ranks of lighted graves were massed.

We cannot however bring up this political question at this point because to do so would result in the bulldozing of the argument and position that Blanchot has gone to great lengths to establish. If Blanchot has demonstrated the necessity of the problem of language and the demise of the problem of political and historical specificity, it is clearly regressive to accuse him of making a given political move (to the extent that, in doing so, we ignore the complexities of his dialectic). If, however, we respect Blanchot's argument and follow it through, there are still problems in his position.

Une multitude de petites lumieres, agitees par le vent, menaient dans la nuit une fete silencieuse, inintelligible. Ces etoiles, ces bougies etaient par centaines en flammes sur le sol: le sol ou s'alignait la foule des tombes illuminees. Je pris Dorothea par le bras. Nous etions fascines par cet abime d'etoiles funebres. Dorothea se rapprocha de moi. Longuement elle m'embrassa dans la bouche. Elle m'enlaca, me serrant violemment: c'etait, depuis longtemps, la premiere 16 D POLITICS, MUTILATION, WRITING fois qu'elle se dechainait.

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Politics, Writing, Mutilation: The Cases of Bataille, Blanchot, Roussel, Leiris, and Ponge by Allan Stoekl


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