Intrigues: From Being to the Other

Intrigues: From Being to the Other

GABRIEL RIERA
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x06jr
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  • Book Info
    Intrigues: From Being to the Other
    Book Description:

    Intrigues: From Being to the Other examines the possibility of writing the other, explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible, and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book's horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of the other, which, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of representation, must be welcomed by language and preserved in its alterity. Martin Heidegger is an unavoidable reference, however. While it is true that for the German philosopher Being is an immanent production, his elucidation of a more essential understanding of Being entails a deconstruction of onto-theology, of the sign and the grammatical and logical determinations of language, all decisive starting points for both Levinas and Blanchot.At stake for both Levinas and Blanchot, then, is how to mark a nondiscursive excess within discourse without erasing or reducing it. How should one read and write the other in the same without reducing the other to the same?Critics in recent years have discussed an ethical moment or turncharacterized by the other's irruption into the order of discourse. The other becomes a true crossroads of disciplines, since it affects several aspects of discourse: the constitution of the subject, the status of knowledge, the nature of representation, and what that representation represses (gender, power). Yet there has been a tendency to graft the other onto paradigms whose main purpose is to reassess questions of identity, fundamentally in terms of representation; the other thus loses some of its most crucial features.Through close readings of texts by Heidegger, Levinas, and Blanchot the book examines how the question of the other engages the very limits of philosophy, rationality, and power.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4802-5
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    Intrigues: From Being to the Otherexamines the possibility of writing the other. It explores whether an ethical writing that preserves the other as such is possible and discusses what the implications are for an ethically inflected literary criticism. Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, whose works constitute the most thorough contemporary exploration of the question of the other and of its relation to writing, are the main focus of this study. The book’s horizon is ethics in the Levinasian sense: the question of the other that, on the hither side of language understood as a system of signs and of...

  6. ONE The Passion of Time: Au moment voulu (Nietzsche-Heidegger-Blanchot)
    (pp. 16-37)

    For Blanchotintriguenames an inextricable relation between at least two human beings and the not-assimilable strangeness that language harbors. The “relation of the third type” is “without horizon,” by which Blanchot means that neither a positive structure (disclosure, manifestation, transcendence), nor a negative principle (the working of the negative, death), could manage to deneutralize it, to fill it with a content capable of containing the neuter’s disruptive paucity.¹

    Blanchot, not unlike Levinas, employs the termintrigueto refer to the “relation of the third type” and to the “exigency of speech” when faced with the strangeness of language.Intrigue...

  7. TWO Dwelling: Between Poiēsis and Technē
    (pp. 38-54)

    Although aberrant from the point of view of conventional literary scholarship and no less debatable from literary theory,¹ Heidegger’s discourse on poetry and the work of art throws some light on why the project of a “metaphysics ofDasein,” sketched out afterBeing and Timeand developed in the Marburg courses, veers radically into the “thinking of the Turn (Kehre).”² Heidegger’s series of courses and conferences on Hölderlin and the “origin” of the work of art have his disastrous engagement with National Socialism, as well as his attempt to disentangle himself from it, as a background. However, they reveal themselves...

  8. THREE The Enigma of Manifestation (Figuration in Heidegger)
    (pp. 55-84)

    Heidegger’s detour through Hölderlin’s poetry leaves the project of the “overcoming of aesthetics” in disarray and opens the path to a “step back” from metaphysics and a radical redefinition of language. This detour does not amount to making Heidegger’s a poetic thinking, a conceptual retranslation of poetry’s findings—whatever they may be—nor the model of Heidegger’sKehre. Not without a certain interpretative violence on Heidegger’s part, Hölderlin the poet acts much like a “chemical agent” that captures metaphysics’s “unthought,” the dimension in which metaphysics finds its proper site. If the philosopher institutes being, the poet is the one who...

  9. FOUR Plot and Intrigue: From Being’s Other to the “Otherwise than Being” (Language, Ethics, Poetic Language in Levinas)
    (pp. 85-105)

    Is it possible to write the other without assimilating or reducing it to the same, to an object or a thing, to concepts, categories or descriptions? What is thisO/otherthat at times is my neighbor and at times wholly other (tout autre), whose alterity issues from infinity or even God? Levinas’s works suggest that the interruption of the subject’s power, “I have no power over the other” (je ne peux pas pouvoir) (TI 39), is a precondition for welcoming the other, but of course this does not happen as a resolution willfully taken by a free and autonomous subject....

  10. FIVE Art’s Inhumanity: “Reality and Its Shadow”
    (pp. 106-134)

    The face-à-face describes a non-intersubjective and nonviolent relation between the other and the self guaranteed by the straightforwardness of discourse that takes place on this side of pure being, the impersonal and anonymousil y a. The subject liberates itself from theil y a, without totally breaking away from it, except when the other faces him.¹ Given that theil y aplays a central role both in Levinas’s thinking as well as in his determination of the nonethical nature of the work of art, I now turn to its role within the context of the works predatingTotality...

  11. SIX “The Writing of the Outside,” Blanchot with Levinas, or the “Potentiality” of Poetic Language in Otherwise than Being
    (pp. 135-154)

    One can imagine a voice that “comes from the other shore” and by saying “at this very moment here I am,” “interrupts the saying of the already said.” It is a voice that refuses to tell stories, much like the one in Maurice Blanchot’sLa Folie du jour(The Madness of the Day), a mad voice, “obsessed, persecuted,” whose echoes disrupt the transparency of daylight, manifestation, and discourse. Yet even while refusing to tell stories this voice bears witness to anintriguewith the other in a “quasi-hagiographic style that wishes to be neither a sermon nor the confession of...

  12. SEVEN The Unerasable Difference: (Levinas in Blanchot)
    (pp. 155-188)

    Although the friendship between Levinas and Blanchot is known to have begun in the mid-1920s when they were both students in Strasbourg and spanned several decades,¹ for Blanchot their relationship cannot be simply reduced to a series of facts or episodes. “Friendship” names a relation to the other that exceeds the forms of “influence,” “priority” and “misinterpretation”:

    We must give up trying to know those to whom we are linked by something essential; by this I mean we must greet them inthe relation with the unknownin which they greet us as well, in our distance (éloignement). Friendship, this...

  13. Postface
    (pp. 189-196)

    Not unlike Levinas, Blanchot employs the termintrigueto refer to the “relation of the third type” and to the “exigency of speech” when faced with the strangeness of language. Intrigue is not only a descriptive term, but also what unfolds in and as “le moment voulu.”Intriguenames the temporalizing of the other’s approach, as well as the temporality of writing as “responsive speech.”Au Moment vouluallowed me to read intrigue as a “passion of time,” as the exploration of a passivity older than interiority and intention which opens language up “from within.” However, this “passion of time”...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 197-228)
  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 229-242)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 243-247)