The Aggrieved Community

Nancy and Blanchot in Dialogue

In: Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion

Abstract

Does “community” contain an ineradicable memory of “communion,” and thereby inevitably have conceptual ties to Christianity, if not to fascism? Or can the word, rather, indicate a new way of being in common, one that became briefly visible in the communist experiment, understood first as the appearing of the truth of democracy before it collapsed under the weight of ideology and militarism? While Jean-Luc Nancy identifies motifs from Maurice Blanchot’s early right-wing political commitments in his later left-wing thought, this essay addresses and critiques another of Nancy’s claims: that despite Blanchot’s affirmation of a community unregulated by a reference to unity, he is, in fact, committed to the Christian notion of communion. However, Blanchot distanced his notion of inter-subjectivity from any conception of God, proposing, instead, a “dissymmetric” rather than asymmetric relation, grounded in the encounter of the Other’s death rather than in some trace of the divine.

  • Blanchot, Maurice. The Infinite Conversation, trans. Susan Hanson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. La communauté inavouable (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1983), translated as The Unavowable Community, trans. Pierre Joris (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1988).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. “Intellectuals Under Scrutiny,” trans. Michael Holland, The Blanchot Reader (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1995).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. “The ‘Sacred’ Speech of Hölderlin,” The Work of Fire, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. “The Detour towards Simplicity,” Friendship, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. “On One Approach to Communism,” Friendship, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. Faux Pas, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. The Step Not Beyond, trans. Lycette Nelson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. The Instant of My Death bound with Jacques Derrida, Demeure: Fiction and Testimony, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).

  • Blanchot, Maurice. The Book to Come, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).

  • Fink, Eugen. “Ontological Problems of Community,” trans. Michael R. Heim, Contemporary German Philosophy, 2 vols (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1983), II, 1–19.

  • Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe. Agonie terminée, agonie interminable: Sur Maurice Blanchot (Paris: Gaililée, 2011).

  • Levinas, Emmanuel. “The Ruin of Representation,” Discovering Existence with Husserl, trans. Richard A. Cohen and Michael B. Smith (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1998).

  • Levinas, Emmanuel. Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, trans. Alphonso Lingis (Pittsburg: Duquesne University Press, 1969).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. The Truth of Democracy, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. “Sharing Voices,” trans. Gayle L. Ormiston, Transforming the Hermeneutic Context: From Nietzsche to Nancy, ed. and intro. Gayle L. Ormiston and Alan D. Schrift (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. “La communauté désoeuvrée,” Aléa 4 (février, 1983).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. La communauté désoeuvrée (Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1986), translated into English as The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor and trans. Peter Connor et al., foreword Christopher Fynsk (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. La communauté affronté (Paris: Galilée, 2001), trans. as “The Confronted Community,” trans. Amanda Macdonald, Postcolonial Studies, 6: 1 (2003), 23–36.

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. Maurice Blanchot: Passion politique, lettre-récit de 1984 suive d’ une lettre de Dionys Mascolo (Paris: Galilée, 2011).

  • Nancy, Jean-Luc. La communauté désavouée (Paris: Galilée, 2014), trans. as The Disavowed Community, trans. Philip Armstrong (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016).

  • Surya, Michel. Sainteté de Bataille (Paris: Éditions de l’ éclat, 2012).

  • Wahl, Jean. Existence humaine et transcendance (Neuchâtel: Éditions de la Bacconière, 1944).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 166 166 3
Full Text Views 24 24 0
PDF Downloads 28 28 0