For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Work of the Detective, Work of the Writer: Paul Auster's City of Glass"

by Nealon, Jeffrey T (1996)


In the good mystery there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not significant, it has the potential to be so—which amounts to the same thing. . . . Since everything seen or said, even the slightest, most trivial thing, can bear a connection to …

Key Passage

Why does the writer find it so hard to make his or her literary work pass into the realm of metaphysical work? As Maurice Blanchot notes, “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” (Gaze 33). Blanchot here follows a scrupulous philosophical analysis of work. He uses the example of a stove: if a person wants to get warm, she builds a stove; she negates merely disparate elements by casting them together in a higher unity. By performing this work, she affirms something new and brings it into the world by denying or negating the old elements. (p.97)


Literature, Blanchot, Writing, Detective, City Of Glass, Auster


Work in Literature, On Blanchot

Links to Reference



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