Talk:Maurice Blanchot

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Old Discussion moved to the correct place[edit]

I'm not seeing this statement being factual: "nationalistic, non-conformist, and anti-semitic pro-fascist journal Combat", I find it hard to believe that Camus, Sartre, and Malraux were pro-fascist?? Come on now! I believe this is an inaccurate statement.

Reading the Wikipedia article on Combat I see this:

Combat (French for "fight") was a French newspaper created during the Second World War. Originally a clandestine newspaper of the Resistance, it was headed by Albert Ollivier, Jean Bloch-Michel, Georges Altschuler and, most of all, Albert Camus. Jean-Paul Sartre, André Malraux, Emmanuel Mounier, and then Raymond Aron and Pierre Herbart also contributed to it. Its production was directed by André Bollier until Milice repression led to his death.

How can it be argued that either Combat was pro-fascist, or that Blanchot was himself pro-fascist...even if the newspaper was pro-fascist, does it necessarily follow that Blanchot was?? Guilt by association??Christian Roess 03:54, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

This is a different Combat from the one MB wrote for in the thirties. --Nightspore

Thanks Nightspore...Oh ok...a different Combat...thanks for the clarification...I need to disambiguate those links in the Blanchot article...I'll do some more search on the Web to clarify any changes I make...and perhaps create a new article to dissociate the two different publications each of which call themselves "Combat"...Christian Roess 02:58, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

This article is really strong in its claims and very weak in verifiability. I'm not sure how the claim that "the fascist sympathiser Georges Bataille" would be defended. For such reasons I've inserted an unreferenced tag on the article. I notice as well that some basic fact that complicate Blanchot's characterisation are left out: principally his protection of Paul Levy and the Lévinases from deportation and certain death. Maybe I'm wrong, but I sense an accusatory tone which, coupled with some selectivity in selection of facts, seems to me to undermine the neutrality of at least the pre-1945 content. Buffyg 14:42, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I would like to openly call the bluff of the editor alledging that Bataille was a fascist sympathizer. Present named sources, or shut up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:46, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Problems with the "neutrality" of this article (especially pre-1945)[edit]

I agree with Buffyg that there are some problems regarding the "verifiability" of some of those statements...and to characterize Georges Bataille as a fascist sympathiser is ridiculous. And yes, I have read somewhere about Blanchot's intercession with Emmanuel Lévinas and his wife. Excellent points here by Buffyg.

BUT this article is much improved thanks to recent editors, probably the anonymous contibutor listed as and the changes this particular editor made on 3 December 2006.

I'll do some research in the next 2 weeks or so on Blancot's help to Lévinas...I have the essay somewhere that Lévinas himself wrote regarding Blanchot...meanwhile, I'm sure someone will pitch in here before I get to it. Christian Roess 03:59, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm skeptical of the ip-address person's assertion that Jean Louis Loubet del Bayle called MB a collaborationist -- unless he meant a contributing editor type of thing to iffy journals. I read the book many years ago and there was not such claim then, and even Mehlmann (who cites it) says no such thing. So I'm deleting this for now -- if he or she can cite a relevant passage then I hope he or she will. Nightspore 22:26, 16 December 2006 (UTC)Nightspore

Yeah, Nightspore , I believe your observations are on point here and the ::beginning of the article does not belong:
"Maurice Blanchot was a French pre-war leader of the Young Right"
and this sounds like someone has an axe to grind...but this is not what Blanchot is known for ::(whether true or not). It would be similar to beginning the article on Heidegger with "Heidegger ::was a Nazi sympathizer..." {...} anyhow, the Blanchot article needs to cite referencesChristian Roess 15:48, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

At any rate, I added the "weasel words" tag to the article disputing the neutrality of the "facts", and so on.... Christian Roess 15:52, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

well, I just edited. Even if unproblematically true, it would be more like saying "Philip Larkin was an English racist, sexist and poet" or "Edward M. Kennedy was an American plagiarist, senator, and Presidential candidate." There's no significant IDENTIFICATION of Blanchot in saying that he was a leader (however ambiguously) of the young right. Nightspore 18:08, 18 December 2006 (UTC)Nightspore
Good one, Nightspore. You could get a job instantly as a TV political commentator on a 24 hour American news channel. But kidding a side, right on with the edit. I agree it needed to be taken out.Christian Roess 21:56, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:56, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Clarity of this statement[edit]

As written, I don't know what the author was trying to say, especially with the pharse "shot through":

"Blanchot also draws heavily from Franz Kafka, and his fictional work (like his theoretical work) is shot through by an engagement with Kafka's writing."

--chemica (talk) 03:16, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

A more correct phrasing would be "shot through with". This is an English idiom meaning "containing ... throughout" - in other words, an engagement with Kafka's writing can be seen throughout Blanchot's fictional work. — Paul G (talk) 11:20, 28 March 2008 (UTC)


Despite his reclusiveness, and the scarcity of archival information on his private life, several good pictures exist of a young Blanchot in the company of Levinas and other friends. Should I add them ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Apologies for newbie interjection, but Blanchot was very much against his picture being taken, or extensive biographical information revealed; I feel having a picture of him is fairly disrespectful, tough I can see why it is there and why you wouldn't want to take it down. For that reason, I wouldn't recommend adding more pictures of him, let alone keeping this one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:34, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

-He's a public figure, he cooperated with Bident's biography, he's dead, he posed for the photos so at some point he wasn't against them, and at a much later point he was willing to talk to a biographer. He also wrote private letters that he wanted to be part of the public record after his death. And then: he writes extensively about Kafka's journals and fiction, as well as the journals and letters of many other writers: Rilke, Woolf, etc. So there's no reason to think he would have expected or felt entitled to demand discretion after his death, despite the fact that he was himself so amazingly discreet. I admire his discretion about himself, but don't think it translates at all into a moral requirement that others be discreet as well. Nightspore (talk) 13:06, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Translation of title of Le Pas au-delà"[edit]

Le Pas au-delà is translated as "The Step Not Beyond". Is this the title that is used in English?

There are two literal translations of the phrase le pas au-delà: "The Step Beyond" and "The Not Beyond". The French title is therefore a pun, but neither literal translation captures this. "The Step Not Beyond" translates both meanings, but loses the pun. This would be a translation of the French "Le Pas pas au-delà". Is this what is intended? — Paul G (talk) 11:18, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

What about his far right ideals[edit]

The problem is no, if he is or not a fascist. Of corse he was part of the far right he was a tradionalist, an antimarxist, anti democratic, antiliberal, and he participate in fascsit, procatolic, or pro maurras magazins. He hated Sarte and surely he wanted a goverment such as the one in germany and Italy. -- (talk) 20:00, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

  • No, you're guessing ("surely" gives it away) and guessing wrong. He hated Nazism from the start.
I'm not guessing I have read about his ideals, and of course of his strong colaboration with the Third Reich, he wrote articles in two far right magazines L’Insurgé (Where he talked about the third way, between liberalism and comunist) and Combat, in an article called "Terrorismo comme méthode du salud publique", he talked about the anticapitalist and his antisemitic ideals. And he also comes again with his idea of terrorism of a garantee of the public health. Blanchot wrote and participated as an activist in many far right organizations and that must be included in the article.-- (talk) 20:19, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
And also I want to include the article "Les deux trahison? Le Front Populaire a ruiné l’internationalisme et ‘turquifié’ la France" in which blanchot asked France, to help the spanish fascist revolution.-- (talk) 20:26, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Read the Pre-1945 section of the entry. Then read Bident biography. There was no collaboration with the Third Reich. Blanchot refused the editorship of the NRF because of the demand that it be a collaborationist journal. He came close to being shot by the Nazis. Your sources are biased.Nightspore (talk) 21:50, 3 December 2008 (UTC)nightspore
Even thought that might be true, you should take into account, that he was part of far riht ideals. His words were written in many far right magazines, and he was send to prison in 1937, because he insitated in the magazines to assasination. That must be includ in the article, and the ifluence of maurras in blanchot must be included as well.--Erick91 (talk) 21:56, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
No -- again these are half truths that you're too quick to believe. Blanchot did not go to prison. He sought to do so, in solidarity with a young extreme right journalist who wrote the provocation in question. But the government, rightly, took no notice of the political provocation Blanchot and his friends were attempting. His relations to Maurras were vexed at best, and it's only Sartre who spread the rumor that he was a Maurrasian, in his silly essay on Aminadab. In contrast to his companions among the far right non-conformists, Blanchot was in no way an anti-semite, as his intense friendships of the time make obvious. The anti-semitic moments over his signature at the time are inexcusable, but also they are editorial interventions. He broke with the right in 1938 because of their antisemitism. More important, this is only scandal-mongering. Blanchot entirely disowned his right wing activities in the thirties. Whatever is important about his work, it's not the ideas that he was promulgating then. They may have some relation to his later thinking -- a relation that would consist in their intensity and extremism -- but Le Tres Haut (as close to an intellectual autobiography as he wrote) makes clear how radically those ideas get rethought after 1938. Much of what Blanchot did in the thirties was seriously wrong. But it was just polemicising. If it had any effect, it was to make Vichy collaboration with Germany harder not easier. And then Blanchot was certainly on the side of the angels once it counted -- after 1938 and certainly after Vichy.Nightspore (talk) 04:31, 4 December 2008 (UTC)Nightspore
I'm against you again. First all you should take into account that he was a member in pro charles maurras dissident movements. I'm not talking just if he was or not a fascsist, that might be discuss. But surely he was part of the far right, just look at the magazines he wrote in and the ideals he have. Personally he believe that people should read books or any article in an antimarxist point of view. Maurice Blanchot was against Leon Blum, just take a look to the article "Blum, notre chance du salut", in the main page of the magazine there is a Blum with the tipical aspect of a Jew. Blanchot was a rightis, and not only that he was a far rightist.--Erick91 (talk) 00:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
No one denies that he was part of the far right in the thirties. Where do you see such a denial? The question is whether it's enough to "just look at the magazines he wrote in" and decide that's all you need to know. I think that's all you're doing, and imagining that what's probably the least important aspect of his life, the least significant, the least consequential, extremely distasteful as much of it is, is what really needs exploring. Much of what was published in the thirties over his name was appalling. We all agree. He agreed. What else needs to be said? And how hasn't this been said already? I'd agree that it would matter if he were pro-Nazi. But he was always strongly anti-Nazi. He didn't collaborate with the powerful. He may not have supported the people we would have supported, but he wasn't a member of any oppressive state entity, nor of its apparatus. Contrast his position, however terrible his opinions were, with that of de Man or Heidegger. But really the problem is that you don't have much of a command of the established facts; you just know you don't like the circles Blanchot moved in. Nor do I. But whatever made Blanchot interesting was individual to him, and not something that you can infer from his associations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nightspore (talkcontribs) 04:12, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
The problem is not if I like or not, blanchot´s far right ideals. But in the article it must be mentioned his relationship at least with the far right magazines and what he wrote in them. Remenber that blanchot aproved francos govement, and aked France to help the general. It is logical that a nationalist hates specially a French such as Maurras hates the nazi germany. But are we talking that Blanchot was a fascsit, or he was a collaborationist. Because both terms are complitelly different even thought we are talking of France in the 1930's. L’Insurge, was a part or gived support to the "caugole". (The magazine and the movement worked in the same installations). That movement received support from Franco and Mussolini. I'm just saying, that all this must be mentioned because that was an influence in what blanchot wrote specially, in this period of time.--Erick91 (talk) 18:51, 5 December 2008 (UTC) p.d Remenber that the movements and magazines in whis Blanchot was part in were part of the Jeune Droite, were many intellectuals were part and participated with a disident pro maurras and pro fascsit ideals.--Erick91 (talk) 19:20, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Half-truths again. But you know if you want to think that it's really important for an article in Wikipedia to spend a lot of time on Sartre's sympathy to Stalinism, which was mature and well-considered, then maybe Blanchot's immature relation to the radical right can be an issue. Remember that Blanchot in the thirties was writing from a position where he had no power. You earlier called him a collaborationist with the Third Reich (I think that was you, but perhaps not); now you concede that as a Maurrasian he wouldn't have been. Well but he wasn't a Maurrasian either: that's Sartre's libel. As to his support for Franco, yes it's disgusting. But it also matters that he explained why he supported Franco: because France would be choosing an anti-Nazi fascist over Hitler. If fascism was going to win, Franco was the way to go. All of this is well-covered in his biography. The question is what relevance it really has to the reason that Blanchot is of any importance. In the thirties he was a minor though strange and highly independent figure in a dissident movement that had no power. Some of his fello dissidents came into power and used it for evil purposes. But Blanchot broke with them after Munich. Munich is the litmus test, and Blanchot passed it. In the war he used whatever influence he had against the fascists. I repeat that the article already mentions his far right journalism. To mention it at greater length would require MUCH more exposition, lest people jump to the quick and unfounded conclusions on whose precarious platforms you await them.Nightspore (talk) 22:59, 5 December 2008 (UTC)Nightspore
Let's just say that the article have to mention alot of stuff about Blanchot. But it is not a casuality, you might argue that it does not matters that blanchot was part of the far right, in a period in which he had few or no influence, but it do matters we have Combat, l'insurge including his articles and opinions in the magazine (including the far right articles and antiliberal, antimarxist, antijew opinions in them). The last mentioned magazine gived a real support to the "cagaule", a far right and fascsit group. And finally we have the Jeune Droite. I believe that blanchot was not an idiot and because of that believe I'm sure that he knew in which movements he was participating in, and of course he knew what he was writing in the magazines. The article mentions the magazines and it's far right ideals but in a way it does not mention the real blanchot, a Blanchot that was part of his ideals not in a short period of time, because his ideals were there almost 10 years.--Erick91 (talk) 03:40, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you know a few things, and imagine that you can infer the rest. Well, if you think you have accurate and relevant things to say about Blanchot, say them in the entry. People who actually do know more about his activities in the thirties will correct you if what you say warrants correction. But I think that you're just sure that there's a lot of really scandalous material there that's somehow being covered up on wikipedia. Whereas the truth is LESS scandalous (though more interesting) than you think it is. No one denies that he was part of the radical right in the thirties, nor that he wrote for really obnoxious journals, nor that his own journalism was often noxious, nor that he knew what he was doing. What more do you need to say? You seem to think that focusing on the stuff he wrote in the thirties will somehow reveal the most important or deepest truth we can learn about Blanchot. Whereas it's of some biographical interest, some interest in tracing the development of his thought, some MORAL interest, it's just not scandalous enough enough, historically significant enough, harmful enough, or influential enough to be worth the very detailed exposition that would be necessary to be ACCURATE about his activities. But you don't seem to want to be accurate, only to be outraged. Well, this is my last comment here. Nightspore (talk) 04:15, 6 December 2008 (UTC)Nightspore
I was specting that my last comment would be the last. I really don't want to make this some how something scandalous or a new truth, beacuse it is not. The fascsit and far right ideals where part of blanchot, and this period gave and stong influence to what blanchot wrote later. Just as the book "Sein und Zeit", from heidegger later received from the same author a nazi inclination, the style and the ideas later exposed by Blanchot had some influence of fascsim that is undeniable. The article must includ what you call "half truths", because I repeat this IS NOT A MORAL INTEREST, of me neither a neccesity to be ACCURATE. This is just a way to show as in heidegger, Pound, de man, Celine. What really influences their ideals and what they wrote. That's all, it is to understan what the author wrote and why what ideas lead him to wrote about his philosophy, it is not the search of thruth, neither the search of thruth. It is just to show in this biography how his thought was depeloped, and of course what he wrote and on what groups he participated in.--Erick91 (talk) 23:25, 6 December 2008 (UTC)


I don't understand the passage, 'During The Satanic Verses controversy, Blanchot invited Salman Rushdie and Ayatollah Khomeini wrote a piece dramatizing his view of the relation of the book to the dialogue between people who confront each other as others by writing a kind of parable: "I invite Rushdie to my house (in the South); I invite to my house the descendant or successor of Khomeiny. I will be between the two of you, and the Koran also. It will pronounce a judgment. Come." ' The first part of it is not even grammatical - there's no transition from "Blanchot invited Salman Rushdie and Ayatollah Khomeini" to "wrote a piece dramatizing", etc. UserVOBO (talk) 22:17, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

I tried to honor your desire to include a pretty trivial moment in an unimportant squib by Blanchot. An invitation goes to people -- Blanchot was not writing to either Rushdie to anyone in Iran. He was writing about how religions of the book are perverted by literalists who ignore the book and feel entitled instead to call for the murders of others. The Telegraph and Guardian snarkily included this in their obits, and in doing so gave ludicrous prominence to a set of sentences that they misinterpreted and that are of almost no significance to any understanding of Blanchot. In order to be accurate I cited the sentences in full, which would allow readers of the article to assess their meaning. It's completely wrong to treat this as though Blanchot was imagining that such a meeting would ever take place. It makes him look like a fool (as some of the ludicrous web accounts of his piece have claimed) rather than a provocateur (which is how his extremely well-informed biographer Bidient reads this).Nightspore (talk) 23:06, 16 March 2010 (UTC)Nightspore

If you insist that the Guardian and the Independent both got it wrong, then I'll remove all mention of this incident. UserVOBO (talk) 23:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

This is a Bit of a Mess[edit]

This is entry is very messy. I am going to try and clean it up a bit and add citations. Strangely, it seems to have got a lot worse since I last looked at it a few years ago. There are many non sequiturs (sentences added that don't seem to go anywhere or develop any idea) and many self-serving additions (someone, for example has added numerous French commentaries in the secondary literature as though they were the main sources for English speakers on Blanchot).

Ironically, considering the import of Blanchot writings, there appears to be an excessive interest in his personal life. As usual the difficult task of making comprehensible someone's thought is avoided by obsessing about their lives. Drwilllarge (talk) 06:11, 14 September 2010 (UTC)