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

Blanchot here gives a concise summary of the work of dialectic, which negates in order to bring elements into a higher transformation or synthesis within the teleological economy of history. The idea of heat is realized in the work that builds the stove; the end product of heat is brought about and mastered in the negation of the disconnected elements—steel, rivets, pipe, rock, cement—that form the final unity of the usable stove. In turn, the stove’s heat provides the conditions for further transformations—allows other ideas to be mastered, allows other ends to be attained, allows history to progress. For Blanchot, the writer seems to do precisely this kind of work when she brings a transformation of ink and paper into the world. Insofar as the writer negates language in its present form and offers it a new form, her work allows the progress of further artistic transformations,  thereby performing what would seem to be philosophical work par excellence. (p.98)


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


Work in Literature, On Blanchot

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