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Title: Towards the impossibility of childhood : Maurice Blanchot's '(A primal scene?)'
Author: Guilding, Beth
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9272
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis traces a subtle, but central, concern of Blanchot’s works: that of childhood and its relation to the silence in language. Beginning with an in-depth analysis of the commentary surrounding the fragment from Blanchot’s text, The Writing of the Disaster (1980), titled ‘(A primal scene?)’, our introduction and first two chapters examines the way that Freud and Blanchot come into conjunction with one another through their shared focus on the importance of the origin and its relation to the silence of the Other. From here, we move into an examination of Blanchot’s use of fragmentary writing. Our aim is to demonstrate the manner in which the ‘secret’ in which the child of ‘(A primal scene?)’ shall ‘live henceforth’ enters into a relationship with the ‘nondialectical’ Other; the Other that (or who) for Blanchot enables language to be possible within the realms of the impossible. This will lead us into an examination of the theme of childhood as it occurs more generally throughout Blanchot’s oeuvre. Examining the works of Louis-René des Forêts alongside Blanchot’s texts ‘The Last Word’ and A Voice from Elsewhere, we will argue that, when Blanchot writes that childhood is the period of ‘the impossibility of speaking’, he is gesturing toward the way that childhood and death are incorporated into the adult’s language through the silence that both maintain within the Self. We will conclude by arguing that, for Blanchot, the reason that ‘every poet is Narcissus’ is because every poet is turned away from herself in the act of writing, thereby allowing the silence of childhood and death to come forth as the ‘secret’ of language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available