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The Figural JewPolitics and Identity in Postwar French Thought$
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Sarah Hammerschlag

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315119

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226315133.001.0001

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Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot's Rewriting of Levinas

Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot's Rewriting of Levinas

(p.166) Four Literary Unrest: Maurice Blanchot's Rewriting of Levinas
The Figural Jew
University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas in dialogue to reveal a theory of the trope. It argues that Blanchot approaches Levinas's account of ethics and Judaism with a concern for the function of uprootedness not only in literature but also in politics. Although Blanchot consistently declared allegiance to Levinas and rarely criticized his philosophy, the chapter suggests that his conception of literature nevertheless leads to a subtle critique of Levinas. In particular, Blanchot disagrees with Levinas's frequent claim that Judaism will provide the way forward for a new universalizing humanism. As a result, Blanchot radicalizes the notion of deracination and, thus, the figural Jew. Consequently, the chapter claims that being Jewish comes to represent an exigency which calls into question allegiances of any sort.

Keywords:   Maurice Blanchot, Emmanuel Levinas, ethics, Judaism, uprootedness, literature, politics, humanism, deracination, figural Jew

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