For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Gaze of Orpheus

by Blanchot, Maurice (1981)


Blanchot's interpretation or use of the Gaze of Orpheus is in artistic creation. Some have offered, “…the Orpheus myth as a model which provides ways to discuss many of the features of Blanchot's work, which until now appeared not to have common thematic links” (Champagne 1254). The path taken by Orpheus from light to dark and back to light is symbolic of the artist’s journey from reality to the edges of the surreal, “…the force that enables Orpheus to cross the boundaries of light and life, and to descend to Eurydice, according to Blanchot, is that of art. Rendering this dark point, the lure, the point in which the artist's control is undermined, is also the object of the work of art.” (New Media Narratives). Blanchot uses the myth to transcribe the creative process. “Eurydice's disappearance symbolizes a loss that is recuperated by the compensatory gift of Orpheus's song” (Huffer 175).

Key Passage

If we see work as the force of history, the force that transforms man while it transforms the world, then a writer’s activity must be recognized as the highest form of work. (p.33)


Blanchot, Literature, Myth, Artworks, Works Of Art


The Gaze of Orpheus

Links to Reference



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