John — More on Blanchot

Topic(s): Blanchot | Comments Off on John — More on Blanchot

(Mostly in French)
ArtForum News Online 3/3/03
Maurice Blanchot, one of the most reclusive writers of the last
century, died on February 20 at the age of ninety-five at his
residence in Yvelines, just outside Paris. The formidable writer
and critic-of whom there exist only two blurry photographs-
seems to have hoped that his death, like his life, would go
As Libération’s Eric Loret reports,
a neighbor who visited Blanchot daily left a message on the
answering machine of France Culture to announce that the
writer had passed away. His death was confirmed only later by
family members, who seem to have had no intention of making
an official public announcement. With due respect to Blanchot’s
silence, others close to him-including Jacques Derrida and
Jean-Luc Nancy-made no comment until after the funeral,
which was held last Monday.
Le Monde’s Patrick Kéchichian offers an in-depth portrait
based almost exclusively on bibliographical information,
Beginning in the 1920s with Blanchot’s close friendship to
Emmanuel Levinas-the only person with whom he ever used the
familiar “tu” form of address-Kéchichian looks at the writer’s
right-wing and anti-Semitic writings of the 1930s, which
reflected attitudes eventually transformed by the German
occupation of France during World War II. Active in the French
Resistance, Blanchot later came to see the Holocaust as the
“absolute event of history,” a central-and insurmountable-
point in his writings.