Community, Myth and Recognition in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Thought (Continuum Literary Studies)

Community, Myth and Recognition in Twentieth-Century French Literature and Thought (Continuum Literary Studies)

Language: English

Pages: 188

ISBN: 1441166661

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Taking as its point of departure the notion of community in mid-twentieth century French literature and thought, this ambitious study seeks to uncover the ways in which Breton, Bataille, Sartre and Barthes used literature and art to engage with the question of reconceptualizing society. In exploring the relevance these writings hold for contemporary debates about community, Lubecker argues for the continuing social importance of literary studies.

Throughout the book, he suggests that literature and art are privileged fields for confronting some of the anti-social desires situated at the periphery of human rationality. The authors studied put to work the concepts of Thanatos, sado-masochism and (self-)sacrifice; they also write more poetically about man's attraction to Silence, the Night and the Neutral.
Many sociological discourses on the question of community tend to marginalize the drives inherent within these concepts; Lubecker argues it is essential to take these drives into account when theorising the question of community, otherwise they may return in the atavistic form of myths. Moreover if handled with care and attention they can prove to be a resource.

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he uses the master–slave dialectics as a Sorelian myth. In this regard it is largely irrelevant whether the myth is founded or not; the economical or social reality is secondary, the myth is first of all an image helping to create the organic, revolutionary group. Breton and Bataille in the Late 1930s 27 In the lectures, Kojève did not present his reading as mythical (undoubtedly because he was concerned with the elaboration of the myth), but a few years later he was more explicit about the

be put in the service of the universal interest must be infinitely more severe and shattering, of a grandeur completely different from that of the nationalists, who are bound to social preservation and the egotistical interests of the nation states. (Paragraph 13) This argument explains the name of the group: Counter-Attack indicates that fascism and its hypostases should be attacked with its own means because these means are efficient. The strength of fascism is to satisfy the general desire for

way that diverges from the one presented here. I have argued that Barthes’ text testifies to a tension between utopian optimism and an awareness of the tragic situation of contemporary literature, Blanchot only emphasizes the utopian optimism in Barthes’ text. According to him, Barthes believes in the possibility of reaching the degree zero, an innocent and pure language: It seems first, if we strictly follow the analysis, that, freed from writing, from this ritual language that has its uses, its

a resource. On this precise point (and despite their many differences), Sartre approaches the position Bataille theorized in his post-war writings on surrealism (chapter two). According to Bataille, the significance of surrealism – the reason why he considers surrealism to be the decisive question in these immediate post-war years – lies with its wish to push poetry towards the absence of poetry (and communication). This push would allow the disclosure of a silence that must lie at the heart of

of the aesthetic experience (Butler discusses Kafka in her book). To reformulate this point in the vocabulary of Sartre and Bataille: these are writers with a poetic attitude,9 they have experience in taking pleasure – and pain – from dealing with the heterogeneous, they know this is an area for the exploration of the intimate and are therefore inclined to insist on the acknowledgement of this field within the socio-political discourse. This argument is not meant as a refutation of the

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