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‘As Nobody I was Sovereign’: Reading Derrida Reading Blanchot

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Author(s): Patrick Hanafin

Journal: Societies
ISSN 2075-4698

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Blanchot | death | Derrida | sovereignty

ABSTRACT
In Session 7 (26 February 2003) of The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume II, Jacques Derrida engages again with Maurice Blanchot, two days after the latter’s cremation. This intervention also appears as a post-face to Derrida’s 2003 edition of Parages, his collection of essays devoted to the work of Blanchot. In this article, I examine Derrida’s affinity to the work of Blanchot, as the one whose work ‘stood watch over and around what matters to me, for a long time behind me and forever still before me’ [The Beast and the Sovereign, Volume II, p. 176]. In doing so I look at the manner in which Derrida engaged with Blanchot in his work and how in examining this engagement another reading of sovereignty emerges, one which is not tethered to liberal models of sovereign will but one which eludes biopolitical ordering and may be seen as a form of disappearance. Through a reading of Derrida’s readings of Blanchot’s The Madness of the Day I emphasize the link of this alternative sovereignty to both writing and literature in order to demonstrate how a more radical thinking of sovereignty can be discovered in Derrida’s thought.
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