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The Writing of the Disaster

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  453 Ratings  ·  18 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
Paperback, 153 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by University of Nebraska Press (first published October 2nd 1980)
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May 30, 2013 Aziz rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2011 Azarin rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 20, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jan 28, 2009 Ian rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2012 Eugen rated it it was amazing
This book is a meditation, not a philosophical argument. The argument may commence once the book has been read, of course.
Guillermo Macbeth
Un libro extraordinario y enigmático. La Escritura del Desastre es una obra deslumbrante que pareciera desarrollar un género propio: la escritura fragmentada. Entre el aforismo y el ensayo, Blanchot reflexiona sobre el lenguaje. El resultado de esta reflexión es la destrucción del lenguaje. Sin embargo, el lenguaje también resulta restituido. Una y otra vez, en cada frase el lenguaje es desarmado y rearmado. Entretanto Blanchot dialoga -en conversaciones sin palabras, diría Blanchot- con Hegel, ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2016 Sofia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, the-terror
[You come across a sign seared into the Earth with the fury of six million souls. It reads:]
The disaster ruins everything, all the while leaving everything intact.

Pretty much the culmination of everything written up until that point, or something of the sort.

I dip into it every night, sort of like some might with the Tao Te Ching, sort of like flinging yourself into a woodchipper, and the woodchipper's on fire.

Also recommended: The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace.

Mar 27, 2012 Tyler rated it liked it
Shelves: grad-school
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.
Mar 01, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 10, 2014 stew rated it it was ok
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?
Mj Harding
Jan 23, 2014 Mj Harding rated it really liked it
A strange, complex, sometimes absorbing, sometimes repelling, sometimes confusing little book whose existential puzzle I so wish to unlock.
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Feb 13, 2013
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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.” 13 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.” 7 likes
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