One Who Was Standing Apart From Me, The

One Who Was Standing Apart From Me, The

Maurice Blanchot

This work takes the form of a conversation, an interview. An obsessive questioning back and forth builds up Blanchot’s narrative, with its sense - shared with Kafka’s famous “doorkeeper” parable - that behind each question lies the spooky possibility of a further, more imposing, more insoluble question. Thematically, powerlessness, inertia, insufficient speech, weariness, falling, faltering - everything tied to a negative or nonexistent value in ordinary discourse - is given value here by its being articulated, moved into writing and thought. What’s insignificant or worthless gathers weight through its troubling persistence, its failure to disappear. The “endless” conversation of Blanchot’s writing turns “fiction” toward an experience of listening - a far cry from the storytelling most fiction (still) takes itself to be.

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