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Scandal and Aftereffect

Scandal and Aftereffect: Blanchot and France since 1930

STEVEN UNGAR
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv891
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  • Book Info
    Scandal and Aftereffect
    Book Description:

    Why have literary critics, as in the cases of Martin Heidegger and Paul de Man, chosen to ignore or suppress Blanchot's right-wing interwar and wartime writings, focusing instead on his postwar production? Scandal and Aftereffect provides an enlightening and provocative examination of this question, as Steven Ungar looks at 100 articles published under Blanchot's signature between 1932 and 1937 in such right-wing publications as Combat, Le Rempart, and l'Insurgé.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8618-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: Out of the Past
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)

    This book explores a convergence over the past twenty years of shared concerns among literary scholars and historians studying France since 1930. It is organized around a series of questions about the recent past and the assumptions on which inquiry into it is grounded. In what ways—how, when, and where—does historical understanding evolve when the memory of a specific period is contested among those who lived it and those whose access to it depends on the accounts of others? How, in particular, has it come to pass that received accounts of interwar and wartime France have been increasingly...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Vichy as Paradigm of Contested Memory
    (pp. 1-33)

    Just as Sigmund Freud believed in the return of what consciousness tries to repress, so an uneasy awareness haunts a current generation of literary critics, theorists, and historians at work on France since 1930. One source of this uneasiness involves a crisis of authority related to scholarly disciplines and differing—often rival—claims to knowledge. We may agree in principle with Geoffrey Hartman that historians should become better readers and literary scholars better historians, but ingrained habits of profession and discipline often force a closing of ranks to a point where such agreement is nothing more than wishful thinking.¹ A...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Revising Martin Heidegger
    (pp. 34-59)

    Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in 1960 in hisCritique of Dialectical Reasonthat the case of Martin Heidegger was too complex for him to explain. What Sartre did not—could not? would not?—address more than thirty years ago has since returned as scandal and aftereffect. Until the late 1980s, the reception of Heidegger’s writings in France had bordered on the reverential for the better part of six decades. Heidegger was seen as embodiment of the modern philosopher-poet whose concepts and vocabulary made their way into the works of writers and intellectuals from Sartre, Jacques Lacan, and Rene Char to Michel...

  7. CHAPTER THREE White Out
    (pp. 60-80)

    Some books lead to revolutions, others to scandal. Response to the October 1987 appearance of VictorFarias’s Heidegger and Nazismdivided between hostility directed toward Farias himself and the revised figure of Heidegger portrayed in his book. Editorials and follow-up coverage in the scholarly and even popular press extended into the winter, sometimes on a daily basis. Many who had read the book (as well as others who had not) took strong position for or against it. An interview with Jacques Derrida in the Novem- ber 6-12, 1987, issue of the mass-circulation weeklyLe Nouvel Observateur,was of special interest....

  8. CHAPTER FOUR From Reaction to Militancy
    (pp. 81-101)

    Aftereffect has been characterized in previous chapters as the scandalous return of what is left out—displaced or suppressed—when philosophy and literature are considered as self-contained disciplines and/or practices. Concerning Heidegger in France, a major reason for the persistence of debate surroundingHeidegger and Nazismis the lack of evidence to prove or disprove the allegations that Farias brought to wider disclosure.¹ While apologists went through predictable contortions of denial, cynics gloated that Heidegger and those who claimed to speak in his name had perpetrated a major deception whose exposure they could no longer defer. Evidence to resolve differences,...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Under Erasure
    (pp. 102-136)

    René Char marked his 1964 reading of Maurice Blanchot’s 1958 article “La Perversion essentielle” (The essential perversion) by praising Blanchot’s ability to keep politics in a temporal perspective. Politically, Char wrote, Blanchot could only go “from one disappointment to another—that is, from one courage to another—because he is not prone to the forgetful mobility [mobilité oublieuse] of most contemporary writers.”¹ Char praised Blan-chot in terms of difference that cast him as a model figure of constancy and endurance. But as a counterpoint to forgetfulness, memory is not by necessity either uniform or stable. Varying with circumstance, it can...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Modernity in a Cold Climate
    (pp. 137-155)

    Aftereffect disrupts linear chronology through repetition and circularity. Yet it does this less as an instance of Nietzsche’s eternal return of the same than as a variant of Freud’s return of the repressed. In such terms and in light of recent controversies surrounding Vichy, Heidegger, and de Man, the belated return of the past is anything but inadvertent. Blanchot’s writings of the 1930s have served as a test case within a broader genealogy of modernist practices in France since 1930. What, then, are the practical means of locating Blanchot within a revised conception of interwar modernity in France within which...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Afterthoughts and Gray Zones
    (pp. 156-172)

    Blanchot’s early journalism supplements by disruption a received corpus whose trajectory needs to be considered as longer and more complex than has been acknowledged. The interwar writings also clash with a silence on the part of readers and critics either unable or unwilling to acknowledge the nature and extent of Blanchot’s commitment to a right-wing militancy that he seemingly renounced by the end of the Occupation. This nonreception of the interwar writings extends a pattern of displacement and scandalous return that I have explored symptomatically in terms of an aftereffect phenomenon I have adapted from the vocabulary of psychoanalysis. In...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 173-182)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 183-192)
  14. Index
    (pp. 193-200)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 201-201)