This paper aims to provide a close reading of passages from Maurice Blanchot’s early fictional writing in the light of phenomenology. This will involve following various threads. For instance, is greater emphasis placed upon the protagonist Thomas thinking the world abstractly, or perceiving it visually? Does this situate him as a consciousness able to negate the world from afar, or as one always already situated within it? Second, what is the role of the imperfect or impossible perception that is repeatedly invoked? Should this be aligned with the critique of vision shared by much French twentieth-century thought? And third, how far do the novels repeat the phenomenological claim to scientificity? Does Thomas represent anything more than an individual subjectivity – if so, in what ways is the claim to the general made?
Speaker: Dr John McKeane (University of Reading)