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The Decision Between UsArt and Ethics in the Time of Scenes$
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John Paul Ricco

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226717777

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226113371.001.0001

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The Decision Between Us

John Paul Ricco

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter the author reads Jean Genet's essay “What Remains of a Rembrandt Torn Into Little Squares All the Same Size and Shot Down the Toilet” (1967), and in particular Genet's philosophical reflection on his anonymous encounter with a stranger on a train. Intrusion and the anonymous intruder are here understood to be the force and figure of sociality that is structured in terms of shared-separation. Intrusion is what renders the singularity of shared-existence or being-with as irreducible to any common measure, and it is argued that this incommensurability is the source of Genet's sense that every man is equal to every other. In addition, and carrying over themes from Chapter One pertaining to traitorous collaboration, Maurice Blanchot's short quasi-bio-narrative The Instant of My Death, is read as the story of a traitorous yet life-saving intrusion right at the impossible-to-encounter instant of one's death.

Keywords:   Jean Genet, Intrusion, Stranger, Maurice Blanchot

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