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The Writing of the Disaster
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The Writing of the Disaster

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Modern history is haunted by the disasters of the century—world wars, concentration camps, Hiroshima, and the Holocaust—grief, anger, terror, and loss beyond words, but still close, still impending. How can we write or think about disaster when by its very nature it defies speech and compels silence, burns books and shatters meaning?

The Writing of the Disaster reflects upo
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Paperback, 153 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by University of Nebraska Press (first published October 2nd 1980)
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Aziz
[—silence—]
Azarin
Breathtaking prose, intelligent writing, one of the best philosophical texts I've ever read. I have also read his work in French and I have to say that the English translation never reaches the beauty and the depth of the oroginal prose. The poetry of Blanchot's prose is lost in translation but the poetry of his thoughts seems to have survived the shock of this transforamation. This book is about writing the disaster but also about the agony of writing.
Ian
I can't say that I'm usually a huge fan of philosophical texts; I figured I was taking a gamble by picking this one up. A philosophical theory book written in fragments that deals with the holocaust? Not usually my thing.

The first few pages I was just mystified; they seemed full of wilfully contradictory phrases about the other, about truth, about literature and death, concepts I understood in my own language but which this book was not making clear how I should interpret.

After I got into the sw
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M.
Having been reading this on and off for a year and a half, and then following the sporadic nature of reading with a daily reading, always in the morning, the completion of this book feels like a weight lifted. The aphoristic, fragmented nature of the text refuses a reading straight through. There are so many ideas here, it's as if this is Blanchot's holy book. There's a weight to so much said in here.

A lot is opaque, difficult, like Blanchot often is. There's the question of a relevancy to an ex
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Eugen
This book is a meditation, not a philosophical argument. The argument may commence once the book has been read, of course.
Eric
How could I come to terms with or have anything to say about this book? In many ways, it's a book about that which isn't experienced, or "said," or unified: "The disaster, unexperienced. It is what escapes the very possibility of experience--it is the limit of writing. This must be repeated: the disaster de-scribes" (7). "The disaster alone holds mastery at a distance" (9). But it's not just an esoteric literary thought-experiment. It seems, in many ways, an attempt to pose this question: "How i ...more
Mj Harding
A strange, complex, sometimes absorbing, sometimes repelling, sometimes confusing little book whose existential puzzle I so wish to unlock.
Tyler
This is one of the more depressing things I've ever read. It's entirely about the inevitable, impending disaster that we all will experience, in some form, during our lives. There are some oddly hopeful moments, but it's so fractured and disorienting that you need to talk through it with someone.
Kimberly
This book was required reading for a German culture course I took on representations of the Holocaust in literature and film. I found that Blanchot's point that to know history we have to pick through the garbage to be very true.
stew
Seemingly impenetrable and endlessly disturbing, TWoTD is exactly the type of book one needs to pick up after two sleepless nights and too much black tea. Do you keep guns in the house?
Kim
Accessible, passionate theory. I'm reading this obsessively as I work on a long poem. In a sense, the strangest writing "how-to" book ever written.
Nicholas
Nov 11, 2008 Nicholas is currently reading it
"The disaster ruins everything, all while leaving everything intact." and go...
Alex Obrigewitsch
"Language, perpetuating itself, keeps still."
Yz
Oct 21, 2008 Yz added it
For class.
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Maurice Blanchot (September 27, 1907 – February 20, 2003) was a French pre-war leader of the Young Right, philosopher, literary theorist and writer of fiction. Blanchot was a distinctly modern writer who broke down generic boundaries, particularly between literature and philosophy. He began his career on the political right, but the experience of fascism altered his thinking to the point that he s ...more
More about Maurice Blanchot...
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“If nothing were substituted for everything, it would still be too much and too little.” 12 likes
“When Kafka allows a friend to understand that he writes because otherwise he would go mad, he knows that writing is madness already, his madness, a kind of vigilence, unrelated to any wakefulness save sleep's: insomnia. Madness against madness, then. But he believes that he masters the one by abandoning himself to it; the other frightens him, and is his fear; it tears through him, wounds and exalts him. It is as if he had to undergo all the force of an uninterruptable continuity, a tension at the edge of the insupportable which he speaks of with fear and not without a feeling of glory. For glory is the disaster.” 5 likes
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