Blanchot and Klossowski on the Eternal Return of Nietzsche

In: Research in Phenomenology
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  • 1 Fairfield University

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What does it mean to say “Yes” to life? What does it mean to affirm life? What does it mean to not be nihilistic? One possible answer is the appropriation of finitude. But Klossowski argues that this amounts to a “voluntarist” fatalism. Though Klossowski draws attention to the temptation of “voluntarist” fatalism on the part of Nietzsche and readers of Nietzsche, he himself is tempted by redemption, i.e., by being redeemed from the weight of responsibility. Using the very “logic” of Klossowski’s own reading of the eternal return, Blanchot will call this possibility of redemption (on the part of Klossowski) into question. Blanchot’s reading of Nietzsche’s eternal return draws attention to that moment (within the work of Nietzsche) when death as possibility turns into death as impossibility. This weakening of the negative brings, according to Blanchot, not redemption from the burden of responsibility, but infinite responsibility.

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