By Jeff Fort
Is writing haunted by means of a express vital? Does the Kantian elegant proceed to form the writer's vocation, even for twentieth-century authors? What particular form, shape, or determine does this sediment of sublimity absorb the fictions that stick with from itand that go away it in ruins?
This publication explores those questions via readings of 3 authors who endure witness to an ambiguous exigency: writing as a difficult and particular job, at odds with existence, but additionally an insignificant compulsion, a force endlessly or cause, even a type of torture. If Kafka, Blanchot, and Beckett mimic a chic vocation of their severe devotion to writing, they accomplish that in complete understanding that the trajectory it dictates leads to not metaphysical redemption yet really downward, into the uncanny portion of fiction. As this ebook argues, the elegant has consistently been a deeply depression affair, even in its classical Kantian shape, however it is within the attenuated speech of narrative voices
progressively stripped in their assets and rewards that the real nature of this depression is printed.
Read or Download The Imperative to Write: Destitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett PDF
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Additional resources for The Imperative to Write: Destitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett
Indb 29 12/12/13 10:11:02 AM 30 kafka as well as some of the later stories. The remainderless absorption into literature would thus throw oﬀ the outer shell of a false self, but insofar as literature remains in the realm of the visible, of mere appearance and image, it will continually cast up its stripped away leavings as essential to the movement of its own construction: in writing, the outward image is of the essence, or in other terms, the outward visible shell is the kernel of the literary thing.
This “being-a-writer” or “writer-being” (Schriftstellersein), of which so much has been made, serves here as the cipher for Kafka’s self-conscious striving for a certain literary transcendence—but it will also be a signpost on the way to the failure of these strivings, about which Kafka had a perfectly sober awareness, expressed very clearly in later writings. indb 18 12/12/13 10:11:02 AM kafka’s teeth: the literary gewissensbiss 19 that quickly followed, and then, further and “downward,” into a mode of writing at pains to burrow into its own earthbound conditions, closely tied to the conditions of a speaking voice.
And they certainly are compelling. At the very least they convey the fact that, to put it very simply, something tremendous is at stake in the writer’s vocation—indeed, nothing less than everything. Such is the tenor and scale of their hyperbolic rhetoric, here as elsewhere. But I am not sure that these dramatic proclamations are the most fruitful place to look for a substantive rendering of the imperative to write driving and structuring Kafka’s work. More relevant to my purposes is a much broader structural-ﬁgural accretion that is to be read in the relationship between such proclamations and their larger context, both in the texts where they appear, and in Kafka’s project as a whole: a project that involves an explicit eﬀort at self-fashioning and transformation into a writer, a strange being that maintains a vexed and impossible relationship with the empirical existence of the author.