Writing in fragments is often held to be one of the most distinctive signature effects of Romantic, modern, and postmodern literature. But what is the fragment, and what may be said to be its literary, philosophical, and political significance? Few writers have explored these questions with such probing radicality and rigorous tenacity as the French writer and thinker Maurice Blanchot. For the first time in any language, this book explores in detail Blanchot's own writing in fragments in order to understand the stakes of the fragmentary within philosophical and literary modernity. It attends in detail to each of Blanchot's fragmentary works (Awaiting Forgetting, The Step Not Beyond, and The Writing of the Disaster) and reconstructs Blanchot's radical critical engagement with the philosophical and literary tradition, in particular with Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Levinas, Derrida, Nancy, Mallarme, Char, and others, and assesses Blanchot's account of politics, Jewish thought, and the Shoah, with a view to understanding the stakes of fragmentary writing in Blanchot and within philosophical and literary modernity in general.
Leslie Hill is Professor of French Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Beckett's Fiction: In Different Words (Cambridge University Press, 1990), Marguerite Duras: Apocalyptic Desires (Routledge, 1993), Blanchot: Extreme Contemporary (Routledge, 1997), Bataille, Klossowski, Blanchot: Writing at the Limit (Oxford University Press, 2001) The Cambridge Introduction to Jacques Derrida (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Radical Indecision: Barthes, Blanchot, Derrida, and the Future of Criticism (Notre Dame University Press, 2010). He is also the co-editor of After Blanchot: Literature, Philosophy, Criticism (University of Delaware Press, 2005).